Tesla says France fire caused by badly tightened connection

September 14, 2016

Tesla says that a fire in one of its electric cars in France broke out because an electrical connection had not been tightened properly.

The company said in a statement to The Associated Press Wednesday that "usually, these electrical connections are installed by a robot, but for this car this connection was installed manually."

The three people aboard the Model S sedan escaped unharmed when it caught fire during a promotional tour last month in the resort city of Biarritz.

Tesla said it was the only time such an incident had occurred. It did not elaborate on how the loose connection sparked a fire.

The U.S. government investigated Tesla in 2013 after two fires in Model S sedans, but closed the investigation after Tesla made changes to the cars.

Explore further: Tesla car catches fire during promotional event in France

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not rated yet Sep 14, 2016
Well, those sort of things tend to happen when your battery is composed of approximately 8000 individual laptop cells. Even with robots assembling them, there's going to be a bad weld every now and then, and it would be a total pain in the ass, not to mention huge extra cost, to x-ray the welds individually to make sure.

This is why other manufacturers prefer to use fewer and larger prismatic cells. Tesla is using cylindricals because there's already large volume manufacturing for laptops and other devices, which makes them cheaper.

It did not elaborate on how the loose connection sparked a fire.

The simplest explaination is that the poor connection caused resistive heating in the battery when the car was taken for a spin, and the adjacent battery cells underwent thermal runaway. The NCA chemistry of Tesla's cells breaks down at around 150 C, the easier the fuller the battery is.

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