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Owner of Battery Fire Tesla Vehicle: Car 'Performed Very Well, Will Buy Again' 232

Posted by timothy
from the go-ahead-touch-the-cornballer dept.
cartechboy writes "The Tesla Model S fire that, to date, is either electric car Armageddon or 'no big deal' has been fun Internet theatre combined with a dose of crowd-sourced battery-pack pseudo-expertise. Now the actual car owner (and Tesla investor) weighs in with his take, which is, basically, 'nothing to see here and yes, I can't wait to get back into a Tesla.' Owner Robert Carlson wrote an email in response to contact by Tesla's vice president of sales and service, Jerome Guillen, saying he found the car had 'performed very well under such an extreme test. The batteries went through a controlled burn which the Internet images really exaggerates.' Carlson had no comment on the guy who videoed his car fire, who is now Internet infamous for shooting video in portrait mode." You can read Elon Musk's take, along with Carlson's correspondence.
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Owner of Battery Fire Tesla Vehicle: Car 'Performed Very Well, Will Buy Again'

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  • by macsimcon (682390) on Friday October 04, 2013 @08:08PM (#45040777)

    It's powered by flaming batteries.

  • Tesla cars can burn under certain conditions. I guess they really are just like all the other cars out there.
    • by ttucker (2884057)
      Car fires tend to be pretty spectacular... gasoline is quite flammable.
    • by FridayBob (619244) on Friday October 04, 2013 @08:44PM (#45041031) Homepage

      ... I guess they really are just like all the other cars out there.

      A car that can't suddenly roast its occupants in an explosion should be regarded as a step forwards. Don't forget how dangerous it is to travel at speed in a vehicle that carries both a tank of highly volatile liquid and an engine that, even when functioning properly, turns 70-75% of that potential energy into heat.

  • Kind of on topic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AbRASiON (589899) * on Friday October 04, 2013 @08:13PM (#45040813) Journal

    For the love of all things holy, can camera software / smartphone software detect if the user has _initiated_ the recording rotated and adapt appropriately?
    Alternatively, can we get some simple, easy software which rotates video easily? Pictures are a breeze, video seemingly not. It's 2013 already!

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      You're simply holding the Apple product wrong. What you suggest would require innovation, something lacking in Cupertino. Just learn to hold your phone correctly. /sarcasm
      • The lens probably provides an orientation neutral, disc-shaped image. If the image sensor and recorder supported a disc shape, then the viewer (or editor) could choose the framing: horizontal, or vertical, square, Cinerama, or just leave it as a disc.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        The quote you were looking for is:

        "Just avoid holding it that way."
        - Steve Jobs

    • Software can't fix vertical video since the sensor was oriented the wrong way to begin with . The only "fix" would be to crop down to a lower resolution or design a phone where the sensor rotates independent of how it's held.

      • by grumbel (592662)

        The core problem is that you record a video in 1080x1920 which is then scaled down to 608x1080 to fit into a horizontal player, thus you lose information. The trivial fix would be to simply not squish vertical video into a horizontal player, instead play it in a vertical player, thus preserving all the image detail.

    • Re:Kind of on topic (Score:4, Informative)

      by SJHillman (1966756) on Friday October 04, 2013 @08:23PM (#45040883)

      But what if they *want* it in portrait? It should do what the *user* wants, not what most people think is right.

      • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

        But what if they *want* it in portrait? It should do what the *user* wants, not what most people think is right.

        As my Photography professer told me early on. "You have to know the rules in order to break them."

        After viewing the footage, I doubt this guy was breaking the rules. as he knew them. Which an observer could come to a quick conclusion that he had no idea what he was doing

    • by reub2000 (705806)

      Why not use a square sensor?

      • Why not use a square sensor?

        Because it would be sensor space that would rarely be used. It's not that common that people would hold in portrait but intend to shoot in landscape. And then on top of that, I don't know that it is technically possible to manufacture a plus-shaped sensor. If not, then that would mean either there would be a lot of the sensor that is completely unused (which means wasted cost of manufacturing, and possibly wasted battery life if it's not possible to keep portions of the sensor powered down), or you'd have t

        • by GiMP (10923)

          Nobody should intend to film in portrait mode except in rare conditions that do not apply here with phones. The reason people do it is because it is the natural way to hold the phone, not because it is the natural way to watch the video. The phone should fix their mistake by cropping the image down to landscape or square. I don't understand what you mean by "sensor space that would rarely be used". With a square sensor, the recording would ALWAYS be square regardless of portrait or landscape orientation.

          • Nobody should intend to film in portrait mode except in rare conditions that do not apply here with phones. The reason people do it is because it is the natural way to hold the phone, not because it is the natural way to watch the video.

            Why should nobody intend to do it? I do it from time to time, and I intend it. If the subject I'm capturing is naturally vertical, and I don't intend to view it full screen on an HDTV, why should I waste all that space and resolution capturing stuff I don't care about on each side? I'll shoot it portrait and capture the subject that I am actually interested in with as much detail as possible.

            The phone should fix their mistake by cropping the image down to landscape or square.

            Then you end up with a much lower resolution, which is very undesirable.

            I don't understand what you mean by "sensor space that would rarely be used". With a square sensor, the recording would ALWAYS be square regardless of portrait or landscape orientation. It might be different than what users expect, so the cropped area on the display could show application icons for various features that are often hidden in pie menus.

            But to use a square sensor, you give up a lot

        • by reub2000 (705806)

          Who says it needs to be wasted space? Let the user capture a square image.

    • Arguably the problem is in video players that can't properly display videos taken in portrait mode.

      Why can't youtube display vertical movies? It's 2013 already!
    • by evilviper (135110)

      Alternatively, can we get some simple, easy software which rotates video easily? Pictures are a breeze, video seemingly not. It's 2013 already!

      A single image is always going to be easier to modify than 100,000 images (ie. a video). That said, kmenc15, virtualdub, etc., can easily flip, rotate, gamma correct, crop, or do many other modifications to your video.

    • by spongman (182339)

      Yeah. And maybe YouTube could handle showing fullscreen portrait video properly on a portrait-oriented device. *facepalm*

    • by adolf (21054)

      Why rotate it? From what I can see, the video is already rotated appropriately: Up on my monitor is up on TFV.

      If you don't like the vertical viewpoint, just crop it and zoom it and bend it 90 degrees. You -will- lose information in doing so, just as you must in doing so with still pictures, even if the latter is "a breeze." (There are tools that make it "a breeze" with video if that's what you really want.)

      Or are you requesting that image sensors on cell phones be a 1x1 matrix instead of a 4x3 or 16x9 m

  • by formfeed (703859) on Friday October 04, 2013 @09:49PM (#45041351)

    Till they fixed this problem I certainly will stay away from any Nvidia product.

  • by Required Snark (1702878) on Friday October 04, 2013 @10:12PM (#45041479)
    About 2,270,000 results

    Search "car fire 2013 -race" About 1,740,000 results.

    Eliminates motor sports car fires.

    Yes, the burning Tesla is on the first page. However, you could spend the rest of your life just watching all the non-Tesla burning car videos for just one year.

    So why is one Tesla on fire such a hot item?

    • by tftp (111690)

      So why is one Tesla on fire such a hot item?

      Because there are very few Teslas around, and because they showed up on the market just about a year ago.

    • Because it appears to be the first one, and media might still remember the Fisker Karmas that ignited after hurricane Sandy. Personally, I still want a Tesla.

    • it's on fire, so it's a hot item

  • by Michalson (638911) on Friday October 04, 2013 @10:34PM (#45041589)
    Here is some interesting information on car fires from the US Fire Administration (USFA->FEMA->DHS) and the National Fire Protection Association.

    From 2008-2010 "Approximately one in seven fires responded to by fire departments across the nation is a highway vehicle fire. This does not include the tens of thousands of fire department responses to highway vehicle accident sites.". The leading factors in ignition where "mechanical failure" (44.1%) and "electrical failure" (22.3%). 1 [fema.gov]

    The actual number of highway car fires in that period was approximately 582,000, or an average of over 500 car fires every day on American highways.2 [nfpa.org]

    In this accident which involved an electric car a large piece of sparking metal debris was run over by the car and thrown up with enough force to slice through the cars stored energy compartment, in this case one of the batteries. The driver was alerted via the display to a problem and instructed to pull over immediately due to the fact that one of the batteries was now leaking and smoldering. A short time later the burning ember reached critical temperature and was able to ignite the softer materials in the adjoining 'frunk', the carpeted front side trunk located where most cars have an engine. The other 15 battery compartments, having not been skewered by a giant metal spike, remained unharmed due to the firewalls and other protection, as did the passenger compartment.

    If the owner had been driving a gas powered car and that metal spike had instead been driven up into the gas tank, ripping it open and showering the fuel with sparks as it was dragged along the highway, would the driver have had any warning other than a loud bump and then the passenger compartment being consumed by flames?

    This is not the first Tesla fire, there was another involving the Roadster resulting in a recall of 439 vehicles. The source of the fire in that instance was not the advanced battery at all, it was one of the old style 12V lines (Tesla vehicles still include a regular 12V battery for lights/instruments and 'ignition') being in a bad position near a headlight and susceptible to damage that could spark a fire. Going back to the statistics above we have over 100 car fires each day (22.3% of 500) caused by those 12V wires and components being damaged and shorting out. For example Honda recalled over 140,000 (non-hybrid) Fits in the US this year because the wiring in a 12V door switch could get wet, short out and start a fire. GM had the same problem last year and had to recall almost half a million vehicles.
    • by rahvin112 (446269) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @12:20AM (#45042103)

      I attribute the serious press coverage and negative tone to paid coverage by other car manufacturers. They are scared of Tesla because they've developed everything in house and now hold patents on a lot of key electric car technology.

      Anyone with any brains looked at this as said so what. I've seen car fires, obviously gas car fires and they are fucking scary. I watched a gas car go from a little smoke to smouldering ember in less than 2 minutes. The driver barely made it out alive. People are routinely killed in car fires because gas cars burn very very fast. Apparently the Model S told him there was trouble and to pull over and he was out of the car waiting for help long before the fire started. Though it makes for an interesting video had that been a gas fire the car would have been a smoking ember before the fire department got there.

  • I figure that anyone who's invested has probably got at least some idea how the battery tech works... And anyone who does, knows that compromising one or more cells with something conductive (I read something about metal road debris piercing the battery?) is literally one of the surest ways to cause a catastrophic failure of a lithium chemistry battery pack.

    So yeah, if I were in his shoes, I'd be keeping things in perspective, too.

    Man, I've seen photos of R/C car and plane batteries having done absolutely

    • But that's just how it goes if you wanna store an assload of clean energy in a small enough space to power a vehicle.

      that's just how it goes if you want to store an assload of ANY KIND of energy in a small enough space

  • I'm sure if this were remotely likely, it would have happened on Top Gear.
  • From the blog:

    "Earlier this week, a Model S traveling at highway speed struck a large metal object, causing significant damage to the vehicle. A curved section that fell off a semi-trailer was recovered from the roadway near where the accident occurred and, according to the road crew that was on the scene, appears to be the culprit. The geometry of the object caused a powerful lever action as it went under the car, punching upward and impaling the Model S with a peak force on the order of 25 tons. Only a fo

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