So… a Tesla High-Key Blew Up in San Francisco

A Model Y exploded Saturday evening in SF’s Pacific Heights under strange circumstances, but it took out a number of windows nonetheless.

The batteries inside electric cars are made up of incredibly volatile chemicals. Most long-range electric cars, like all of Tesla’s vehicle models, use lithium-ion batteries because of their high energy capacity and ability to recharge fully over time with minimal energy loss. (Some hybrid cars [think older Toyota Prius and Honda Insight models] use nickel-metal hydride — a primitive main-stream vehicle battery that’s becoming more scarce in consumer cars.)

The main components of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, regardless of their size, are carbon, metal oxide, and lithium. When stored and managed correctly, these materials can coexist without harm and are a far less dangerous means of energy storage than, say, gasoline tanks. Unprovoked vehicle explosions as a result of failed EV batteries — meaning they combusted outside of an outside source, like an automobile collision, surrounding fire, fallen tree, etc. — are rare, but they do happen.

Around 8 p.m. Saturday, a Tesla Model Y was filmed in San Francisco that appeared to spontaneously combust. Alas, that wasn’t the case; construction work underneath a vault where the car was parked appears to have produced sparks, which lead to the EV catching on fire.

The result was incendiary, shattering windows seven stories above where the car exploded.

A video shared on Twitter shows emergency crews circling the flaming vehicle at a distance… moments before it detonated.

The blast was strong enough to send debris flying in all directions and set off nearby car alarms on the 2100 block of Pacific Heights, between Laguna and Pacific streets.

According to the San Francisco Fire Department, no injuries were reported, but it remains unclear how much property damage was caused; multiple cars and windows were reportedly damaged.

PG&E is now responsible for repairing the vault that caused the fire, so obviously nothing could possibly go wrong.

Feature image: Screenshot from video shared on Twitter via [at]EricaJSandberg

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