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Electric Car Bursts into Flames while Charging


Mark Gregory
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I was not a believer in electrics until yesterday when I went in for a ride in a top end TESLA "self driving" car.

 

WOW!

0-60 in 2,8 seconds. As a entirely self driver it was way better than most drivers and we were on a busy California freeway. Steady speed, Spacing maintained. Very smooth. I was very very impressed (But not with the cost).

You have to admire the technology and performance.

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30 minutes ago, DonMicheletti said:

I was not a believer in electrics until yesterday when I went in for a ride in a top end TESLA "self driving" car.

 

WOW!

0-60 in 2,8 seconds. As a entirely self driver it was way better than most drivers and we were on a busy California freeway. Steady speed, Spacing maintained. Very smooth. I was very very impressed (But not with the cost).

You have to admire the technology and performance.

Model S with Ludicrous mode?  Impressive for sure!

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Faulty power point? Was that the charging connection point? Was it the device at the point of charging? A news reporter is not a very reliable source. Probably not a fireman, either.

 

Electric charging of vehicles has been going on for a long time. The technology of setting up a charging station and making the connection is as common as an electric fork truck.

 

Someone failed to do what they were supposed to do, either through ignorance or disregard for the procedure.

 

I didn't look at the Volvo topic until today. Neither Volvo nor electric car inspire me to move the mouse.

 

What's with the temperatures exceeding 300 Celsius? That's 572 F. Hasn't anyone broiled a steak? When I was a kid I ran naval boilers with a turbo steam tap at 850 F. Pssst, the pipes don't melt.

 

I want to see the news headline stating an electric car was successfully charged without incident. Oh, that's not news. It's a good thing.

 

Ventilated the block. (Wandering explosive gasses adjacent to the burring gasses was hiding? And the heated air rolled around at ground level.) Those boys have been too much time watching Hollywood explosions. I wonder if McGyver showed up an hour late with a shoe lace and a paper clip.

 

If it wasn't for cynics consents wouldn't have been invented. Everyone would still be running around using only vowels and not describing what really happened.

 

Bernie

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Yes, I'm afraid that the electric self-driving car is the future of automobiles.  While good for "transportation", I'm not sure of how much fun they will be.  Gone will be the thrill of downshifting for a tight curve, then powering up through the gears on the following straight accompanied by the song of a wrung out internal combustion engine doing what it does best.  Oh well, as these self-driving vehicles become commonplace, the experience of a "fun drive" or weekend drive through the country will be replaced by an HD video of the route driven, accompanied by the soothing sound track of your choice, all enjoyed from the comforts of your home.

 

Last year, a fatal accident involving a self-driving Tesla occurred just outside of Williston, Florida.  Here is a link that will get you to the NTSB's Preliminary Report on the fatal crash:  https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/search/document.cfm?docID=453252&docketID=59989&mkey=93548

 

If you want all of the details of the crash and subsequent investigation, you can access the NTSB Press Release on the crash:  https://www.ntsb.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/PR20170619.aspx    If you scroll down to the bottom of the Press Release, you'll find the docket material to be available by clicking on the link to the Full Docket of information on the investigation.

 

My comments should not be taken as a particular dislike for the Tesla self-driving cars.  The location of the Tesla accident, a section of U.S. 27A, running WNW from Williston, Florida, is a four lane divided highway that runs straight as an arrow for miles.  This is not a limited access road, and it features many uncontrolled intersections of roadways, driveways etc. which can make driving on this stretch of road all too exciting.  The accidents which occur on this stretch of road are known for their high speed violence and fatal results.  I've driven this stretch of roadway often, and the principal hazard, in my experience, is just what happened in the Tesla accident:  an inattentive driver pulling onto or across the roadway, failing to yield to oncoming high speed traffic.

 

Cheers,

Grog

 

 

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It's not automobiles, GM ceo Mary T. Barra, says her company is re-defining "personal mobility." And we need more coders. Personal mobility can be advanced with more and better computer programmers. She is showing herself to be a very capable ceo. Been in the car business all her life.

 

Autonomous cars from General Motors will come sooner than people think, says Mary Barra, the CEO of the Detroit automaker. "We continue to make very strong progress with Cruise Automation," Barra said referring to the autonomous technology company GM acquired in 2016. She added that GM is running Cruise "as a startup," and giving the team responsibility not only for developing the technology but also strategies for commercializing it.

 

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/28/autonomy-will-come-sooner-than-you-think-says-gm-ceo-barra.html

 

Mary Barra‏Verified account @mtbarra  Apr 13, Retweeted Cadillac
This is one step toward making lives safer, simpler and better. I am excited about what the future of mobility will look like at @GM.
Announcing Super Cruise™, the industry's first true hands-free driving technology. #CT6 http://s.cadillac.com/uu6e 

 

https://twitter.com/mtbarra

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2 hours ago, capngrog said:

Yes, I'm afraid that the electric self-driving car is the future of automobiles.  While good for "transportation", I'm not sure of how much fun they will be. 

 

I imagine that teen age boys and girls all around the world will find self driving cars a whole lot more fun than the kind that need at least one hand on the wheel and one eye on the road.

 

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One benefit from the self driving car is less driver fatigue from having to be on guard all the time while driving.  Letting the car do a lot of that required defensive monitoring can allow the driver to stay fresh longer and be more alert.  Should help with road safety overall.

 

Terry

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"Collision Avoidance" is becoming very common. Not self driving, but much simpler and cheaper to implement. Meaning apply the brakes when something jumps out in front of you, or so you don't rear-end another vehicle due to inattentiveness.

 

The Big Rig that nearly killed Barry Wolk and his wife never would have hit them had it had a collision avoidance system of the simplest type.

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Admittedly, I didn't read NHTSA's prelim report above, nor their final; what I did see was a Journal piece (a small piece) a few days ago re' their final report, absolving Tesla of ANY responsibility for the accident/death...

Should I read it, I'm sure it'll be the typical governmental masterpiece of dancing all around the elephant in the room without recognizing it's existence, namely, that the car drove into a solid object as big as a barn without making any effort to slow/srop/avoid.

Actually, I',m not surprised or disappointed; I remember all those FAA airline crash reports, where, unless some obviously evident mechanical failure could not be ignored, cause was automatically put down to "pilot failure"...  (FAA=Federal Autopsy Admin)

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That report on the Tesla crash doesn't really say anything. What sensor(s) does it employ?

 

Tesla system performance data downloaded from the car indicated that vehicle speed just prior to impact
was 74 mph. System performance data also revealed that the driver was operating the car using the
advanced driver assistance features Traffic-Aware Cruise Control and Autosteer lane keeping assistance.
The car was also equipped with automatic emergency braking that is designed to automatically apply the
brakes to reduce the severity of or assist in avoiding frontal collisions. 

 

Autosteer keeps you in your lane when cruising on the freeway. Traffic-Aware Cruise Control keeps you a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you while cruising on the freeway.

 

So this is not self-driving equipment and was not meant to protect from another vehicle pulling out into your path. It is looking for the "fog line" or lane marker lines, and is looking ahead for vehicles in your lane. It is not like the Google car scanning all 360 degrees.

 

It should have braked though as if the crossing big rig was recognized as a car up ahead. You would expect it to brake late and crash anyway.

 

TACC apparently has only a forward looking radar, so will not see anything coming from off to the side until after it gets in front of you.

 

It almost cause a crash on the freeway when following a car that swerved to avoid a disabled truck on the shoulder that was protuding into the traffic lane.

 

https://www.teslacentral.com/adaptive-cruise-drives-model-s-right-stopped-truck-highway

This was using the adaptive cruise control system, not Autopilot. The "Traffic Aware Cruise Control" system uses the forward-looking radar in the car's nose to slow the cruising car down when following behind another slower vehicle. Autopilot, a $3,000 software upgrade for cars equipped with the hardware, adds in a camera for lane keeping and steering, plus an array of sensors for 360-degree awareness of the car's immediate surroundings. Adaptive cruise control is speed only.

 

Littany of warnings about what TACC does not do, they are in the owner manual - https://www.theverge.com/2016/6/30/12073240/tesla-autopilot-warnings-fatal-crash

Edited by mike6024 (see edit history)
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Capngrog your point is well taken. However for nearly 100% of drivers, a car is a thing you use to get from one place to another - period.

By the fact we are on this site puts us in another category - the enthusiast. We are sort of a "lunatic fringe" when it comes to cars.

 

Like others on this post I probably will not have a self driving car. However I cant ignore the abilities of the autonomous car.

Yes there was a TESLA fatality, however how many "people driven" fatalaties have there been?

The freeways here in the SF bay area are nuts. I stand behind my comment that the TESLA does a better job than many regular drivers.

 

I have my serious driving toys - I'll keep them

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Had the vehicle that decided to turned into my lane of travel as I rode my motorcycle been equipped with a smart recognition system for oncoming traffic I would not be an amputee and paraplegic today.  I have a LOT of respect and interest in the technology that can prevent accidents like mine.  

 

Terry

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A defective wall charging point would not set a car on fire. The car's on-board charging system or something that tried to drain the battery  very fast  was more likely the problem.  As for self driving cars : These will help the poor drivers the most, until a malfunction happens and then they will have no clue of what happened.  Some people here should not have a drivers license, and then again, many don't. 

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This article makes some interesting commentary about the Tesla crash and indicates it may have largely been the driver's fault. 

http://jalopnik.com/tesla-driver-in-fatal-florida-crash-got-numerous-warnin-1796226021

 

I'm all for both electric and autonomous cars, and am very excited for the coach building possibilities for cars once again as most electrics will be built on a separate classic that you can fit a body onto, custom would be so much easier than on unibody cars, and with 3D printing we are looking at a new age in automotive creativity. 

 

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MIKE6024: Of course it doesn't say anything (important); it was carefully crafted NOT to....

.MARRSCARS:Your news clip---lovely, just lovely!! A tip 'o my hat to the group that wrote it. Couldn't've done a better job myself, altho my obfuscation talents've probably rusted since retirement... a classic example of listen to what I say and don't worry about anything else

Prominently accentuates the automatic/programmed "put your hands on the wheel" warnings issued by the programming, directly blaming the driver for everything that happened,

And completely ignores the fact that those automated clear-road warnings had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the fact that the vehicle  was utterly oblivious of he fact that it was driving headlong into a solid object...

Maybe buried in those 500 pages is a description of Tesla's front sensors and why they failed, but I doubt it....Tesla knows why it/they failed, and probably NHTSA...but NHTSA, like the FAA, is an agency at war with itself---charged with both oversight/regulation of equipment safety, while at the same time supporting their respective industries---mutually incompatible missions---which all too often come out on the end of industry support.....

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Common sense avoidance  systems, air bags, and  seat belts go against evolution. The dumb people don’t die because of these systems they just multiply. Here are a couple of systems that cars do need. Number one the system that recognizes the driver is texting and driving. The car should pull over and call the police and not restart until a ticket has been paid. Number two the car senses that it is being driven in the left lane of a highway at a speed slower than other cars. The car should pull off the road and explode immediately.   

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1 hour ago, benjamin j said:

Common sense avoidance  systems, air bags, and  seat belts go against evolution. The dumb people don’t die because of these systems they just multiply.

 

Yes those cruise on the freeway systems seem very dangerous. Keep you in your lane and a safe distance from the car in front of you. But they do nothing else. And cause the driver to ignore the basic responsibility to watch where they're going. They are supposed to be only a supplement, to warn you if you're following too close and brake if you refuse to. Not a license for the driver to ignore the road.

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The Tesla crash vehicle had both radar and camera, visible light spectrum, looking forward. Not looking much, if at all, off to the side. Both failed to detect the truck. Here's two better articles on the findings.

 

NY Times - https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/19/business/tesla-model-s-autopilot-fatal-crash.html

Wired magazine (technology) - https://www.wired.com/2017/01/probing-teslas-deadly-crash-feds-say-yay-self-driving/

 

Wired - 

 

The circumstances of the Florida accident, NHTSA found, were outside the capabilities of the Autopilot and Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) systems. The truck was cutting across the car's path instead of driving directly in front of it, which the radar is better at detecting, and the camera-based system wasn't trained to recognize the flat slab of a truck's side as a threat.

 

Times -

 

First introduced in October 2015, Autopilot uses radar and cameras to scan the road for obstacles and other vehicles, and can brake, accelerate and even pass other vehicles automatically. It tracks lines on highways to stay within lanes.

 

Tesla’s self-driving software, known as Autopilot, has proved adept at preventing Tesla cars from rear-ending other vehicles, but situations involving crossing traffic — as was the case in the crash that regulators investigated — “are beyond the performance capabilities of the system,” Mr. Thomas said.

 

Tesla has said its camera failed to recognize the white truck against a bright sky. But the agency essentially found that Mr. Brown was not paying attention to the road. It determined he set his car’s cruise control at 74 miles per hour about two minutes before the crash, and should have had at least seven seconds to notice the truck before crashing into it.

Neither Autopilot nor Mr. Brown hit the brakes. The agency said that although Autopilot did not prevent the accident, the system performed as it was designed and intended, and therefore did not have a defect.

 

“Not all systems can do all things,” said Bryan Thomas, a spokesman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,

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On ‎09‎/‎07‎/‎2017 at 1:43 PM, DonMicheletti said:

I was not a believer in electrics until yesterday when I went in for a ride in a top end TESLA "self driving" car.

 

WOW!

0-60 in 2,8 seconds. As a entirely self driver it was way better than most drivers and we were on a busy California freeway. Steady speed, Spacing maintained. Very smooth. I was very very impressed (But not with the cost).

You have to admire the technology and performance.

I have no problem believing the performance of an electric.

 

For years, where I lived, many of the transit buses were electric trollies.   They had far better acceleration; especially on steep hills than their diesel-powered brethren.  An electric CCF-Brill trolley bus fully loaded with passengers would be at the top of the hill before the 'new look' GM bus was a third of the way up.

 

Craig

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  • 3 years later...
On 7/9/2017 at 9:14 PM, mike6024 said:

"Collision Avoidance" is becoming very common. Not self driving, but much simpler and cheaper to implement. Meaning apply the brakes when something jumps out in front of you, or so you don't rear-end another vehicle due to inattentiveness.

 

The Big Rig that nearly killed Barry Wolk and his wife never would have hit them had it had a collision avoidance system of the simplest type.

Absolutely, it was a '92 Freightliner that should never have been on the road. Had it had an accident avoidance system it still would have hit us as the brakes on the truck had cammed-over.

I just bought a 2021 X5 Hybrid. It's chock full of collision avoidance and lane-holding features. The only way to change lanes without wrestling is to consciously use your turn signal. I'm ashamed at using my turn signal less than I should have. I've become a much better BMW driver.

This was the best electric assist car for me. I've had it for two months and run it on electric 99% of the time. I've used 2.2 gallons in 540 miles. My year to year electric bill for charging hasn't gone up at all. My computer says I'm getting 90 mpge. I don't know that I'll be the perfect candidate for an all electric, 'cause this is a blast to drive. Having a 292hp twin-turbo mated to a 111hp electric motor that replaces the torque converter literally puts you back in the seat, rivaling Porsche's offerings.

I have a mild case of Parkinson's in one wrist that's brought on by the stress of traffic. I found that giving the traffic salute solved the quake, temporarily. However the lane holding of my new vehicle offers me, and anyone around me , a safer space to drive with me. Like the comments about self-driving cars, you do have to drive them, even though they protect you. We have a little-used 2-lane near us. My wife was unnerved by the motion of the steering wheel when I let the road crown take it near the shoulder. It corrected the action and centered the truck in the center of the lane. Could be a lifesaver. I've heard so many stories of people trying to steer back onto the roadway from a dropped shoulder. People often do not survive that correction.


Damn, it's been almost 6 years.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/25/2021 at 3:34 PM, John_Mc said:

ICE cars burn up every day, just never makes the news.

This is very true, but ICE fires are actually a lot more straight forward. Once oxygen is cut off from the flame, it goes in ICE cars. Even the lead acid batteries go out using the same method. This is because unless you have an ignition source there is no reason for any part of your car to catch fire (in modern cars the ignition system shuts off and drains all power in the event of an accident).

 

BEVs on the other hand can reach auto-ignition, meaning they will ignite themselves... this can obviously be very problematic. I'm sure we have all heard the story about when Richard Hamond crashed the Rimac One and the fire went on for days. This is due to several issues, the first being thermal runaway. Lithium Ion batteries can enter thermal runaway, which is when the battery gets caught in a chemical reaction cycle resulting in it heating up uncontrollably. Once in this state it can't really be stopped. If the manufacturer misprograms certain peramiters, the batteries are punctured, there is a manufacturing error, or the battery in an unsuitable environment, the batteries can enter thermal runaway, even from just charging. The biggest problem with thermal runaway is if the neighboring battery cells enter thermal runaway, the heat, chemicals, and expansion of the original cell almost always triggers its neighboring cells to also go into thermal runaway. This leads to hours upon hours of cells going off like a chain reaction. you would have to isolate the battery from oxygen the entire time and once exposed to oxygen it might trigger a reaction again. This also does not go into the explosive nature of these reactions, the intense heat these fires produce, and the hazardous fumes they give off.

 

At the end of the day ICE fires are a lot more straight forward and easy to quell. I think electric cars are the future and think that as time goes on technologies like hydrogen could improve them greatly... but there are still many issues with electric vehicles... especially those that run on lithium ion batteries.

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