Tesla Model S fire in Toronto garage even though electric car was not charging

Tesla Motors is facing renewed scrutiny after one of its Model S sedans caught fire whilst sitting in a Toronto garage. The fire happened on February 1 and follows a number of Tesla Model S fires in the past six months.

Business Insider reports that the Tesla Model S owner parked up after a drive and, critically, left the car without plugging it in to charge. The length of time between parking up and the garage fire alarm sounding is reported as being just ‘a few moments’.

While the precise cause of the fire is not yet known, at least not publicly, Tesla has said that it didn’t originate from the car’s battery, charging system or the charging adapter, making this incident so far unique.

Tesla sent Business Insider the following statement.

“Dealing with occasional fires is something that every car company has to do, as no vehicle is completely fireproof under all circumstances.

What matters is the number of such incidents per car, and it is worth noting that gasoline car companies experience an average of five to ten times more fires per car than Tesla. Also extremely important is the fact that there has never been a serious injury or death in a Model S as a result of a fire or any other cause.

The Model S continues to have the best safety track record of any vehicle in the world. In this particular case, we don’t yet know the precise cause, but have definitively determined that it did not originate in the battery, the charging system, the adapter or the electrical receptacle, as these components were untouched by the fire.”

Tesla responded by sending no less than seven personnel to the owner and offered to cover the costs of the damage the fire caused to both the car and the garage. While the owner has reportedly declined this offer, the response and following gesture illustrates Tesla’s concern about this latest fire.

Last the year the company’s share price temporarily fell following a spate of fires resulting from forceful crashes. While each Model S did catch fire, it’s worth noting that in each case the car alerted the driver to a problem and contained the fires to a certain extent. There is yet to be a fatality in any Tesla Model S – the safest car the NHTSA has ever tested.

Misinformed hyperbole concerning the last year’s fires even prompted CEO Elon Musk to publicly address various media outlets last year, defending his company and the Model S. Reuters, in particular, stood accused of misreporting another garage fire.

Posted by Richard Lane

Richard is a London-based automotive journalist specialising in future mobility and sustainable design. Having fallen for cars because of the virtues of a particular German flat-six, it's what we'll all be driving next that now interests Richard most. Dream garage: Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Junior and a Detroit Electric SP:01.

  1. Tesla needs to do something with this car.I would never buy one.I will stick to mt Fiat Chrysler products.


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  3. In the Toronto Tesla garage fire it is doubtful that the Tesla charger system is at fault because it allegedly wasn’t plugged in. Tesla offering to pay damages, suggests that the source of the fire was the Tesla model S.

    I would be interested in seeing the fire department’s investigation. I don’t trust Tesla’s so-called “investigations”.

    The Tesla model S. still has defects that make it a fire hazard. Tesla charger connections are still overheating, melting and burning. Tesla batteries are poorly located and poorly protected. Tesla is Junk.

    On 1/9/2014 Elon Musk said that replacement adapters that are part of the recall would be mailed out within two weeks. A month later Tesla customers have still not received the replacement adapters that are part of the Tesla model S. recall.

    Several people have been injured by faulty Tesla charge connectors. Tesla is big on making promises and hype, but short on delivery. Tesla needs to start making safety a top priority. Tesla needs to stop playing blame games and games with semantics. Tesla needs to stop lying. Tesla needs to be proactive instead of reactive. Tesla is being a follower of technology, rather than a leader. Tesla is a greedy corporation that has a disregard for safety. The Tesla model S. is an E-Pinto.

    Tesla and Tesla fan boys have a bad record when it comes to safety. They have a tendency to hype safety, yet they sweep safety concerns under the carpet and drag their feet to resolve safety issues. They often threaten, harass, slander, bully, censor safety advocates, critics and skeptics. That is not a culture of safety


  4. There was also a Lexus in the garage. Maybe the static ignited the Lexus gasoline?


    1. That’s an interesting idea Weapon, although with a sealed tank in the Lexus and no reports of static shocks from Teslas it seems incredibly unlikely (impossible?). That said, I’m at a loss to suggest how this could have happened if not via the battery or charging system…

      Perhaps causation was nothing to do with the Tesla, but why then did it happen so soon after the Model S was parked?




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