Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Patents Target Fire Prevention

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Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Patents Target Fire Prevention
Unsplash / Pixabay

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) recently opened up all of its patents for use by anyone who intends to make electric cars in good faith. Since then, few automakers have taken the bait, but that could change when they realize the full extent to which Tesla has developed safety measures for electric cars.

Tesla deals with thermal runaway

Last year Tesla Motors got a lot of flak for thermal runaway after a pair of fires involving a piece of metal that punctured the battery compartment under the Model S. The automaker has since made some software changes to keep the car riding higher at typical U.S. highway speeds and hasn’t had any issues with thermal runaway again. Thermal runaway occurs when temperatures rise quickly, climbing higher and higher until they result in a fire. As the temperature rises, it kicks off a sort of domino effect as each increase in temperature degree causes yet another increase, and another, and another.

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Tesla Patents

Clearly Tesla studied this problem early on in the development of the Model S. uAutoInsurance.com reviewed the patents released by the automaker recently and discovered that 25 of them relate to fires and thermal runaway.

Tesla describes use of metal-air battery cells

One of the patents focuses on mitigating the effects of thermal events inside battery packs. It basically involves non-metal air cells “absorbing at least a portion of the thermal energy generated during the event before it is released to the ambient environment.” This releases the risks to the car’s passengers, as well as firefighters, first responders, and the car itself.

A second describes “detection of over current in a battery pack.” The patent talks about a controller that is capable of identifies “a hazardous internal short by comparing patterns of series element voltages to the last known balance conditions of the series elements.”

According to uAutoInsurance.com, there are 17 patents referring to minimizing thermal runaway impact, four relating to detection of internal shorts, two relating to low voltage electrolysis and two related to detecting thermal runaway.

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Michelle Jones is editor-in-chief for ValueWalk.com and has been with the site since 2012. Previously, she was a television news producer for eight years. She produced the morning news programs for the NBC affiliates in Evansville, Indiana and Huntsville, Alabama and spent a short time at the CBS affiliate in Huntsville. She has experience as a writer and public relations expert for a wide variety of businesses. Email her at Mjones@wordpress-785388-2679526.cloudwaysapps.com.
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12 COMMENTS

  1. From a recent article on Bloomberg:

    “There were 172,500 vehicle fires in the U.S. in 2012, resulting in 300
    deaths, according to National Fire Protection Association data. None of
    the fatalities involved electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles, said Casey
    Grant, who studies automotive fires for the Quincy, Massachusetts-based
    non-profit that helps firefighters and emergency crews improve safety
    techniques, in a phone interview.

    “We’ve been watching quite closely and electric vehicles in fact have
    had a very good track record,” Grant said. “There’s nothing that
    suggests a greater risk than for gasoline vehicles.”

    Facts speak for themselves. Everything else is just agenda driven BS.

  2. I guess you didn’t see the video of Paul Walker’s Porsche burning like a match.

    The truth is, ANY car that is powered by any source has a great chance to catch on fire in a crash as violent as the one in LA. Walker’s Porsche proves that (along with the other 172,500 gas vehicle fires per year). And, while we don’t know how fast he was going at impact, it was obviously VERY fast as it split the car in half, torn down a light pole and sent the rear half of the car flying through the air and lodged it into a synagogue.

    Yea, I’m sure he was going 45 mph!!

    Here’s a little “truth” for you. I’m sure you will chose to ignore it though. This is from an article on Bloomberg, and the info below is from the National Fire Protection Association. I’m sure you can find it if you want to verify. Note that no fire in ANY electric car has ever killed anyone. ZERO extrapolated over ANY number is still ZERO. If they were SO dang dangerous like you morons like to espouse, then SOMEONE, SOMEBODY would have at least gotten burned in one. But there have been ZERO!!

    “There were 172,500 vehicle fires in the U.S. in 2012, resulting in 300
    deaths, according to National Fire Protection Association data. None of
    the fatalities involved electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles, said Casey
    Grant, who studies automotive fires for the Quincy, Massachusetts-based
    non-profit that helps firefighters and emergency crews improve safety
    techniques, in a phone interview.

    “We’ve been watching quite closely and electric vehicles in fact have
    had a very good track record,” Grant said. “There’s nothing that
    suggests a greater risk than for gasoline vehicles.”

  3. Tesla’s “Hindenburg Moment” is another day closer. If a celebrity like Justin Bieber takes on of these rolling fireworks platforms on the road, it could get very ugly for Tesla. The attempt to compare the number of internal combustion vehicle fire to Tesla fires is flawed. There are millions of gasoline-powered vehicles on the road, but only about 30,000 Tesla Model S units, many of which are not driven daily for primary transportation, but are second, third, or fourth vehicles for the rich buyers.

  4. Lithium ion batteries are only one of several critical flaws that make the Tesla Model S an impractical, unsafe, and experimental vehicle. Lithium ion batteries present an array of problems, from the inevitable fires, nasty environmental impacts, to the high costs of replacing the arrays at least every seven or eight years.

    All batteries batteries become less efficient during every recharge. Even the best LiOH batteries are good for only about 1,000 recharges. I understand that Tesla will sell you an eight-year battery replacement deal for $12,000 that will provide you with a replacement array that is estimated to cost about $20,000. You can earn a lot more than $8,000 on a $12,000 investment over eight years, so I don’t know why anybody would give Tesla $12,000 for that warranty.

    When you add the battery cost to the $4,000 cost of replacing the “special” Tesla tires every 10K-15K miles due to the excessive wear cause by the torque and weight combination of the Model S, this is a novelty car and status symbol for the rich, not a practical or truly Green car. Oh, and then there is the fact that the actual owner-reported range of a fully charged Tesla is only about 200-to-250 miles, and not the 300-mile range promised (See “Owning Model S: The Definitive Guide to Buying and Owning the Tesla Model S” by Nick J Howe), it is clear that the Tesla Model S is destined to become an object lesson in deceptive marketing practices.

  5. Number cruncher here is another ugly Tesla video just coming in…

    Tesla Crash Kills Family of 3 Injures Baby / Palmdale RAW FOOTAGE by LoudLabs New on YouTube
    The Model S in equipped with a 3 phase AC motor. We’ve seen arching in other videos of Tesla accidents. Elon Musk must ask himself whether electrical arching from the front end of the damaged Model S in this past holiday weekend rear end collision, could have ignited the gasoline in the Toyota Corolla.

  6. Yes I saw the the footage.. did you see the 30 car fires that just happen in the last hour? Oh genius car fires happen daily ! About 30 on average!….. maybe tesl should make sure to test there cars going 100 into a pole to make sure it will stay intact!!.. hey people where is the commonsense here?

  7. Do you have the results of the LAPD investigation?
    All we’ve heard thus far is that the Model S was clocked at 100MPH, but nothing about the speed at the moment of the Tesla Catastrophic Failure.

  8. Maybe you didn’t see the Raw Footage of the lithium battery pieces burning in West Hollywood! The glowing chunks had to have come from the Model S, because the Honda did not burst into flames, nor did the Mercury.

    YouTube by LoudLabs News: Stolen Tesla Crash Splits in Half During Pursuit Chase / West Hollywood RAW FOOTAGE

  9. TRUTH is this past Fourth of July, Honda and Ford Mercury did just fine, without Tesla Motors Inc. Fire Prevention Technology. TRUTH is, we still haven’t heard the conclusion of a Tesla investigation regarding the Model S fire in Toronto, Canada. TRUTH is Dump TSLA!

  10. Wow jim you have Tesla s problems all figured out!… congrats!!! Your a real problem solver!!! Hey just a fyi.. gasoline car fires happen daily and the national highway safety tested the car more the once and sad the car is the safest on the road !!! Why dont you design a car that can go 100 m.p.h and crash without catching fire!!!

  11. Cast aside all the hype and lies. The truth is safety is a low priority for Tesla Motors.

    If Tesla safety really was a top priority for Tesla, then Tesla wouldn’t have mounted its lithium drive batteries so close to the ground and so lightly armored them where they easily could be punctured, catch fire and explode. If safety really was a top priority for Tesla, it wouldn’t have skimped on safety by using insufficient connectors, poor manufacturing and poor quality control on its universal mobile Chargers. If safety was a top priority for Tesla, it would have fixed is defective universal mobile chargers, instead of trying to scapegoat its problems on wall outlets and house wiring. If safety really was a top priority for Tesla, it wouldn’t be playing blame games. If safety really was a top priority for Tesla, it wouldn’t slander, and censor safety advocates, critics and skeptics. If safety really was a top priority for Tesla, then it would make it safety bulletins public instead of keeping them secrets.

    If safety really was a top priority for Tesla, then it would have a feature to remotely disable vehicles at the request of law enforcement. In the last few days there has been two fiery crashes involving Teslas. A stolen Tesla was crashed and became an inferno. It split in half and the lithium battery broke up, burst into flames, exploding sending burning shrapnel throughout the neighborhood endangering the public and emergency responders. The burning Tesla and it’s burning batteries spewed dangerous toxic fumes. Some people may have even been injured by toxic fumes, without knowing it. The Tesla split in half after only hitting light poles. The light poles were probably designed to shear, so the crash suggests that Tesla has a structural weakness. This tragic crash could have been prevented, if Tesla had a remote disable command that could be executed by law enforcement when a car is stolen or when a Tesla is endangering the public by fleeing and eluding police. Tesla needs to catch up with technology, Tesla is lagging behind in technology.

    Tesla has had at least two cars catch on fire and explode after being in accidents. Tesla has had at least two cars catch on fire after only running over road debris. There has been several garage fires involving Teslas. Allegedly a fire department in Toronto, said a Tesla was the source of a garage fire. A fire department in California determined that a Tesla charging system was a possible source of a garage fire.

    Tesla much like with GMC ignition system problems, Tesla has problems with its cars suddenly shutting down. Tesla’s problems are often worse, because the Tesla’s brakes and or parking system engages shortly after the vehicle comes to a stop; often leaving Tesla owners and passengers dangerously stranded, sometimes in dangerous traffic.

    Tesla’s lithium drive batteries are more likely to catch fire and explode after being punctured, then gas tanks.

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