Solar Power, Battery and EV Safety $TSLA

Energy Parks on Twitter was trying to push unsubstantiated fears of battery fires in response to my coverage of my positive experience with Tesla solar power and Powerwall batteries. My positive experience is that I have ample solar power to run my air conditioning in recent hot weather 95-117F (35-47C). I sell power back to the utility, PGE, at $2 per kilowatt hour during quite common energy emergencies as part of the Tesla-PGE Virtual Power Plant Program. VPP will pay out about $500 per month during the multi-week heat wave.

Energy Parks tweeted:

There are many factual and statistical things wrong with EnergyParks assertion. I have all of the data because that is what I do. I get all of the data. I have had professional experience in insurance risk and actuarial studies and I researched for over 30,000 blog articles.

House Fires

My house is more safe now after adding solar power and batteries. Part of remodel upgraded the wiring from old and shoddy wiring. There are smoke alarms in every room and ground floor exits in every room. There either exit doors or egress windows in every room.

I also no longer have to handle gasoline when setting up a portable Honda generator. There were six utility power outages in my area which had no impact on me because of the solar power and batteries. There are many other rolling blackouts in the San Francisco Bay area yesterday and today.

There are 24000 electrical fires in houses in the USA each year. This is about one in every 5000 houses or apartments. I am good on the 5 top causes of home electrical fires. No space heaters anymore. No old wiring or fuse boxes. Fewer extension cords. No extension cords in bedrooms.

Electrical fires are the cause of 6.3% (one in 15) house fires.

Electrical fire cause 1: Faulty outlets, appliances.
Electrical fire cause 2: Light fixtures.
Electrical fire cause 3: Extension cords.
Electrical fire cause 4: Space heaters.
Electrical fire cause 5: Wiring.

Biggest risks are non-electric. Cooking fires and heating equipment using fossil fuels are the biggest home fire risks.

Car Fire Risks

Hybrid cars have the most risk of vehicles fires. Hybrid cars are over 100 times more likely to have a vehicle fire than an electric only car. Gas cars are 50 times more likely to have a fire than an electric only cars.

Chrysler Pacifica hybrids were recall (27,600 units recalled) for vehicle fire issues. BMW group recall that involved seven different hybrid models but only added up to around 4,500 vehicles.

272000 regular gasoline Hyundai’s were recalled because of fire risk from overheating electrical outlets. The problem kit temporarily repairs flat tires with an air compressor powered by the car’s 12-volt accessory outlet.

Electric vehicle fire battery problems were mainly with non-Tesla cars by GM and Hyundai using LG Chem batteries that are not used by Tesla. Tesla is about 500 times safer than gas cars.

I also made a video reviewing third party data on Tesla driving safety. Tesla’s are much safer than other cars for driving and crash safety.

3 thoughts on “Solar Power, Battery and EV Safety $TSLA”

  1. Batteries for electric cars are not without risk.

    Lithium batteries do possess an inherent safety issue. If they catch fire through some type of short circuit, the ensuing fire cannot be stopped. The lithium batteries used with electric cars have thousand of connections that are potential points where a short circuit can occur.

    Given the above, the design and manufacture of the battery packs must of very high quality.

    There have been a number of fires involving lithium batteries used by cars, power plants as well as fatal aircraft crashes. The risk is obviously not zero.

    With ever larger numbers of electric vehicles using lithium batteries, simple statistics leads to the conclusion that more fires will occur. Is that increased risk significant? Probably not.

    Personally, I would not buy an electric vehicle because of range limitations and cost. I would buy a hybrid vehicle because these machines are more useful and cost effective. I would not buy an electric vehicle solely to “save-the-planet” from CO2.

  2. There’s a youtube channel called Carhub that claims that “generation 2” Prius is far superior to “generation 3” Prius but the reason is that gen 3 has a defective water pump.

  3. Curiosity question w.r.t. Hybrid vs total electrics battery fires: Do you have those per-car values broken out by year?

    Battery tech has improved greatly over the years, and hybrids have been on the roads for ~25+ years – much longer than total electrics.

    Wondering if the hybrid numbers might be dominated by earlier year/ battery tech numbers.

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