Shocking moment Tesla engulfed in flames as firefighters battle blaze on busy highway
A lithium battery is believed to have sparked a fire which engulfed a luxury Tesla on a country road.
NSW Rural Firefighters attended the fire on the side of the Hume Highway near Penrose in the Southern Highlands, two hours southwest of Sydney.
The Tesla Model 3, which costs more than $60,000, reportedly caught fire when debris falling from a truck damaged the battery shell.
The fire was caused by debris damaging the Tesla’s electric battery (photo)
The driver and passenger were able to escape the car Monday evening, but firefighters had to put out the fire for half an hour before bringing it under control.
The reaction of the electrolytic fluid in lithium batteries makes them extremely difficult to extinguish if they catch fire, and they have been known to reignite spontaneously up to a week later.
Firefighters had to bring in a bulk water tanker and more than 6,000 liters of water were ultimately used before the Tesla stopped catching fire.
“A very interesting call last night with our first call regarding an electric vehicle fire,” Penrose Rural Fire Department said.
“The car had struck debris from a vehicle in front and was well on fire when Penrose Rural Fire Brigade arrived,”
A Tesla Model 3 costs over around $60,000 and is an entry-level Tesla model (photo)
Firefighters worked for half an hour and used more than 6,000 liters of water to put out the small fire.
The fire happened on the same day five luxury cars in a Sydney Airport car park were razed after a lithium battery caught fire.
Lithium battery fires are becoming a growing problem across the world as millions of electric cars, electric bicycles, electric scooters and electric gardening tools flood into the consumer market.
In Australia alone last year, 180 lithium battery fires were reported in New South Wales, 120 in Victoria, 72 in Queensland and 59 in WA.
Defective or low-quality batteries can catch fire while charging, but they can also catch fire when they’re not even plugged in.
Damage or harsh weather conditions such as direct sunlight or flooding can cause leakage of the pressurized electrolytic fluid, which is highly flammable.
Five cars in a Sydney Airport car park were razed after a lithium battery caught fire on Monday (photo)
In Victoria, fire crews respond to at least one battery-related fire every week.
Country Fire Authority chief Garry Cook said Victorians should only buy batteries from reputable suppliers, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the compatible charger supplied with the product.
“These devices make our lives easier, but people need to know the risks and make sure they use electronic products correctly,” he said.