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On the Quora website, Jason M. Lemkin, the CEO and co-founder of EchoSign, once asked what would happen to a Tesla Model S car during a crash?
He explains that every single battery company in the world has experienced multiple uncontrollable fires during its existence, and burnt at least one factory to the ground. He states that Sony once burnt its production Lilon plant, worth over $1 billion, entirely to the ground. The problem is that when one battery catches fire, it burns hot and can ignite the next batter, and before you know it the conflagration runs away and all the batteries catch fire and create an extremely hot blaze.
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His question about the safety of the Model S arose when he took his wife’s Model S out and was hit by another car. He took the car to be repaired at a Tesla-approved body shop, where he discovered a warehouse of broken and beaten Tesla`s all in varying states of repair.
He quickly noticed, and had the fact confirmed by the body shop mechanics, that not a single Tesla electric vehicle (Roadster or Model S) has ever caught fire as result of a collision with another object.
Simon Kinahan, a software developer who commented on Lemkin’s original article, explained that the battery will never explode no matter how much you hit it as it is not the same as other lithium-ion batteries that catch fire occasionally in laptops.
He also explained that the Model S chassis is so strong that it actually broke the crash test machine when it was first tested, meaning that you would probably be safer in a Model S than other normal cars.
The biggest danger to anyone dealing with a crashed Tesla vehicle is the high voltage electric system, and the risk that it might be exposed when the car is damaged. He stated that all electric and hybrid cars have a high voltage disconnect switch which emergency service workers should know about.
The most that Lemkin could determine is that the Tesla Roadsters have a tendency to fall apart, claiming that between perhaps 20-30% need to be rebuilt. And that many Tesla cars suffer rear-end accidents. He suggests that this may be due to the default ‘Standard’ regenerative breaking system which makes the car break very aggressively.
Kinahan warns that any damage to the battery is impossible to repair and would require the battery to be replaced. The battery represents a large portion of the value of the car, so a Tesla with a damaged battery is likely to be a write-off.
At the end of the article Lemkin warns that parts for the Tesla are also incredibly expensive and due to their scarcity, it can take months to fix a damaged car.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com