Nobody Panic: Porsche Taycan Fire Confirmed by Automaker, Cause Unknown
While car fires may not be commonplace, they still happen. Your author saw a Buick Century burning itself into nothing along the West Side Highway not more than three months ago. Local media referenced it as the probable cause for midday delays, but it would have earned its own story had it been a rarer model.
Exotics and electrics garner headlines when they do their best impression of kindling; regular cars only get attention when they’re catching fire en masse. In addition to the warm feeling one gets when learning a car they can’t afford has destroyed itself, there are loads of people who are curious about the dependability of burgeoning technologies. Hypercars are often on the bleeding edge of available tech and are assembled in low volumes. As a result, eyebrows are raised anytime one goes up in smoke for no apparent reason.
Electrics vehicles are in a similar situation. Reportedly poised to take over the world someday, they’ve yet to saturate the market and still stand out wherever they’re parked. Battery fires, which offer the departments tasked with fighting them new challenges, have also become a point of interest after a batch of EVs in Asia turned up the heat.
While the brunt of the offending vehicles were Chinese makes, a video clip of a burning Tesla Model S surfaced in Shanghai last April. Subsequent Tesla fires led the manufacturer to tweak its software in an attempt to avoid similar issues (which it believes were caused by charging problems). Despite being relatively few in number, the fires have opened up concerns about the risks associated with battery tech, placing many on their toes. We even caught wind of a Hyundai Kona that “exploded” in Montreal last summer.
Over the weekend, another EV-related fire occurred in Florida. According to Electrek, one of the 130 Porsche Taycan models sold in the United States last year burned down the garage housing it. Though most of these incidents usually involve reports of the formerly unburnt vehicle charging at the time of the accident, it’s unclear what happened with the Taycan. The EV definitely burnt down the garage (there’s next to nothing left of it), but the fire may not have started with the car.
Porsche confirmed that the automobile was indeed a Taycan, saying only that it was far too early in the investigation to assume anything. We’re inclined to agree. Much of the reporting surrounding incendiary batteries seems to take aim at the car being the cause before all the evidence is gathered.
“We are investigating and we remain ready to assist if called upon,” explained a Porsche spokesman. “No one was harmed in this incident, and it’s too early to speculate on the cause until the investigation has concluded.”
While industry analysts repeatedly claim that EVs self-immolate less often than gasoline-driven automobiles, most of the high-profile electrics we’ve seen emerge over the last few years have had some kind of minor fire scare. Which isn’t to suggest the entire segment is unsafe; it just warrants some level of attentiveness. Don’t be fooled into thinking these stories are part of some pattern underpinning a gigantic safety hazard, but don’t presume automakers have already mastered battery technology either. We’ll continue tracking these reports and attempt to quantify how terrified you should be of electric vehicles. We currently recommending not being scared at all.
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