Concerns around fires in electric cars continue to be stoked (pun not intended) by more reports of fire incidents around the world.
One case that’s recently come to light is that of Yogi and Carolyn Vindum, two Tesla owners based in California. While sleeping, one of their Teslas caught fire — eventually engulfing the other Tesla, and then the house.
The fire occurred late last year, but was only recently picked by American media outlets. It’s one of numerous significant stories about EV fires in 2021. The car in question was an older first-generation Tesla Model S.
These include the fatal April Model S crash and fire in Texas that killed two occupants, Hyundai’s decision to stop selling the Kona Electric in South Korea due to local fires, and General Motors’ expensive recall process for its new electric Bolt.
According to reports, the Tesla that initially caught fire was charging at the time. The owner received a notification on their phone that charging on their car had been interrupted. Twelve minutes later, they woke to a car alarm going off and their house ablaze.
Thankfully, both occupants were able to escape the fire. The rooms above the garage were mainly office space, with the occupants asleep in a different wing of the house. “If we had lived upstairs in this house, we’d be dead,” Yogi Vindum told the Washington Post.
“We just stood there and waited for the fire department to show up. They got the fire out fairly quickly in the house itself. The Teslas kept re-lighting, but finally they got that out too and pulled the cars out. But by that time the cars were a total loss.”
Investigators confirmed that the fire was caused by the Tesla, and not by power from the house. The Vindum left the burnt remains of their Teslas on their driveway for two months waiting for a Tesla representative to investigate the cars, but according to the report it never occurred.
“It has been disappointing that Tesla did not come out and investigate what went wrong with the cars. They sat in the driveway for two months while we were told they were going to be coming out to investigate and let us know what went wrong. But, that never did happen,” Yogi Vindum added.
“We were assured that electric vehicles were safe, that the number of fires from electric vehicles were minimal, and if there was ever a problem that Tesla would take care of it. That has not happened. Our insurance company has taken care of us.”
While internal combustion engine vehicles cause more fires than electric ones outright, very few of those fires occur while parked. Perhaps most worrying to electric vehicle advocates is that most of these different fire cases aren’t connected — and are therefore caused by different issues.