Tesla in fireball crash needs 40 times the water as regular car to put out flames, says fire crew

Fire chief says electric cars can take 40,000 gallons of water to extinguish flames

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Thursday 12 August 2021 19:31 BST

Fiery Tesla crash in Austin needs 40 times the amount of water to a regular car

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A fiery Tesla crash in Texas needed 40 times the amount of water to extinguish the blaze than in a traditional gas-powered vehicle, according to the Austin Fire Department.

A Model X electric SUV smash into a traffic light in the state capital before catching fire in the early hours of Thursday.

Fire officials say that the blaze was hard to bring under control because of the battery cells that power the car.

Video shows the car, which has a starting price tag around $80,000, engulfed in flames after the incident in the Tarrytown area of the city.

“They obviously run completely on battery power, so there’s a battery under the frame, which makes it hard to get to. Plus, once it’s burning, they’re extremely hard to put out – they’ll reignite,” AFD Division Chief Thayer Smith said.

And he said that firefighters were now trained on how to extinguish the lithium batteries in electric cars.

“From a previous experience from other departments around the country and the state, we are aware of the issues when a Tesla burns,” he added.

“There are some other procedures. Normally a car fire you can put out with 500 to 1,000 gallons of water, but Tesla’s may take up to 30,000-40,000 gallons of water, maybe even more, to extinguish the battery pack once it starts burning and that was the case here.”

The driver of the car was alone at the time of the crash and did not suffer any injuries.

Police said the male juvenile had been driving under the influence of alcohol and was arrested at the scene.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced last year that he was moving to Austin from California.

The company is building a Gigafactory in the city where it will produce its Model Y crossover and its eagerly anticipated Cybertruck, which has now been delayed until 2022.

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