Recent Tesla Fires Could Hurt EV Sales, Analysts Suggest

Some analysts believe that recent fires involving Tesla vehicles may dampen demand for electric vehicles.

In recent weeks, at least three Tesla models parked in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and San Francisco burst into flames unexpectedly. Speaking with CNBC, analysts say fears about electric vehicles catching fire could slow sales.

“There are a lot of people who won’t want to take the risk if they think there’s a chance of an accidental fire,” senior analyst with AutoTrends Consulting Joe Phillippi said.

Also Read: Authorities Investigating Tesla Model S That Caught Fire In San Francisco Garage

A few years ago, there were concerns about Tesla vehicles catching fire but the majority of these cases came after crashes, with the automaker consistently pointing out that its vehicles are far less likely to catch fire than petrol and diesel alternatives. However, on April 21, security camera footage from inside a Shanghai parking garage which showed a Model S smoking, exploding, and bursting into flames, triggered headlines around the world.

Last week, it was revealed that a Model S caught fire while parked in Hong Kong and at the start of May, a separate Model S caught fire in a San Francisco garage.

While Tesla is still investigating the incidents, it did issue an over-the-air software update to Model S and Model X vehicles last week to adjust charge and thermal management settings “to help further protect the battery and improve battery longevity.” Tesla said it was introducing these updates “out of an abundance of caution.”

Concerns about these three recent Tesla fires damping demand for electric vehicles may be somewhat premature but they do show that improvements in lithium-ion battery technology can still be made.

  • Six_Tymes

    “Fires Could Hurt EV Sales”

    no shiz… why people don’t wish to be burned alive? no one needs Anal-ysts

  • TheBelltower

    If 175,000 annual car fires haven’t hurt automotive sales, this won’t either. Apparently people don’t have an issue carrying around hundreds of lbs of flammable liquid.

    • D3X

      Difference is that the flammable liquid is usually in the back of the car, it also needs open air to really catch fire. Engine fires are in the front of the vehicle and can usually escape. When a battery catches fire, it’s a complete electrical burn that does not require air to facilitate the burn. It brings instant and violent fast burns spewing very toxic gas, what’s worst is that the battery sits under the cabin living space, occupants would get severely burned instantaneously which could likely cause death.

      Google Lithium battery combustion, it’s a frightening thing.

      • TheBelltower

        The reality is, gas fires are very common while lithium fires are extremely rare. That the fire in China occurred just before Tesla’s earnings report is fishy.

        • D3X

          It’s rare now due to the low percentage of Battery EVs.

          There needs to be a study on BEV statistics; number of accidents causing a fire, severity of the fire, people injured or died from fire.

          • TheBelltower

            Thanks to the influence of the oil industry, there aren’t detailed statistics on automotive fires.

  • ME

    It’s more like someone is looking to make money off a vibrant car brand that scared OPEC and the ICE manufactures.

    • Bash

      Mind blowing theory!

    • Exotics

      It’s like everything Tesla is doing is putting Big Oil out of business and Big Oil wants Tesla to die or something!

  • Harry_Wild

    Great car for espionage storyline/plot line!

  • charlotteharry57

    I told someone in my subdivision via Nextdoor recently who was looking for an electrician so he could home-charge his Tesla about all of this. I also commented that I was glad not to be his next door neighbor in case his house catches fire and burns the neighbors’. THEN I told him about poor Tesla reliability and how he needs a subscription to Consumer Reports. Our neighborhood is well-known for lots of money and many (not me) have lots of dead air space in the head. He disappeared from Nextdoor.


  • Mr. EP9

    Nah, it’s only going to increase the sales numbers. Let’s be clear, the orders for the Model S are going to heat up as a result of these fires and those profit margins are going to be red hot.


  • Craig

    Come on guys. BE HONEST! You just built your dream home! You put almost every cent you have into it. Wouldn’t you feel more comfortable knowing that your new Tesla was parked in a SEPARATE unattached garage?


      • Craig

        No. But even still.. I wouldn’t want to park any EV in a garage attached to my dream home.

  • Jason Miller

    I mean if the media won’t stop posting about it, sure.

  • Exotics

    Lol no it wont

  • Exotics

    Internal (Combustion) Engine. Literally has combustion in its name

    • Richard Alexander

      And yet….the car iyself remains intact….unlike Elon’s napalm wagons…

  • Sovereignty

    It’s AutoPilot that really puts people off Tesla.

  • Richard Alexander

    The typical buyer is so blinded by the image and the hype that they don’t care. What’s going to kill Tesla’s sales is the lomg overdue recession. People’s tolerance for poor build quality is strongly correlated with the mark to market value of their stock portfolio.

  • Craig

    Thanks for the links MICHGO! I knew that some caught on fire but I had no idea [or I chose not to set to memory] the number was that high. So that certainly makes the ‘separate garage’ idea sound even more logical.

  • benT
  • europeon

    There is a difference between an ICE powered car fire and an electric car fire. Both are bad, but a normal person can put out a “normal” car fire.

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