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Tesla Model S Erupts into Fire at a Sacramento Junkyard Three Weeks After it Was Totaled in an Accident

July 06, 2022

According to a article, a Sacramento firefighter reported that a totaled Tesla Model S erupted into flames in a Sacramento junkyard three weeks after it was totaled in an accident. The Tesla battery fire required a substantial amount of water, thinking, and time to extinguish.

It is not clear why the Tesla Model S exploded into flames almost one month after being discarded at the junkyard. The firefighters stated that, like other electric vehicle fires, the fire was very difficult to put out since it continued to re-ignite due to off-gassing in the battery compartment. 

Junkyard yard crews assisted responding firefighters with gaining access to the battery. The crews flipped the Tesla Model S onto its side, but the fire could not be put out even with direct water penetration. The Tesla fire was eventually put out when the vehicle was submerged in a pit filled with 4,500 gallons of water.

In 2010, Tesla issued a recall that affected approximately 40 percent of its electric vehicles due to a defective auxiliary power cable that was causing fires. Eight years later, another Tesla recall was announced due to a Tesla bursting into flames and re-igniting five days after the crash while in storage. In 2022, Tesla's "Big Battery" in Victoria, Australia, exploded into flames and burned for several days. Fire crews struggled to put the Tesla battery out due to the explosive reaction that occurs when water and lithium are combined. 

Safety experts believe that by switching to sodium-ion batteries or by using graphite anodes instead of silicon anodes, these fires would not happen. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also opened new investigations into EV batteries manufactured by South Korean tech giant LG. Automotive LG batteries are used in Mercedes-Benz, GM, Hyundai, Volkswagen, and Stellantis vehicles. All of these manufacturers have issued recalls on their EVs starting in 2020 due to fire hazards. Tesla's batteries are primarily manufactured by Panasonic. 

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