A California couple woke up one morning to find their Tesla caught fire while charging in their garage, causing $1 million in damage.
Yogi and Carolyn Vindum have been unable to return to their San Ramon home since the December 30 fire that sent flames to an upstairs office and destroyed two bedrooms and a bathroom.
“We were lucky to get out without injuries,” Yogi told the Washington Post. “The garage doors were really blown off by the explosions.”
Yogi and Carolyn Vindum woke up on December 30 to find their Tesla caught fire and in the process of causing $1 million in damage to their home in San Ramon, California.
Their two Teslas were destroyed, as well as two bedrooms, an office and a bathroom upstairs
An inspection report said the car’s thermal management system is one of two possible causes of the fire, while the other is a malfunction of the car’s electrical system while charging.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been investigating Tesla’s battery management system since 2019.
Vindum was notified that his 2013 Tesla Model S, parked next to another Tesla, had finished charging at 5:25 a.m.
Twelve minutes later, he and his wife were awakened by the horn.
“When we got out of bed to investigate why it was on, we found that all our smoke detectors in the house were on,” he said.
The Tesla Model S costs $90,000. The Vindums replaced theirs with an Audi
“We went to the front of the house and that’s when we saw flames coming from the garage to the roof of the house.”
Yogi Vindum is the retired founder of Vindum Engineering, which according to its website “makes high-pressure equipment for laboratory and pilot plants.”
Tesla says its cars are 10 times less likely to catch fire than gas-powered vehicles, citing data from the National Fire Protection Association and the US Federal Highway Administration, but experts say the battery-powered vehicles’ lithium-ion batteries can make fires more intense when they happen.
The Model S consistently ranks at the top or close to the top of Consumer Reports’ annual owner satisfaction survey.
Meanwhile, the Model 3 is the only Tesla to be powered by the Insurance Institute for Road Safety, a non-profit organization founded by insurance companies.
The Model S starts at $90,000, while the Model 3 retails for $40,000.
The Post has documented at least five fires involving the Tesla Model S, the flagship of Elon Musk’s electric car maker.
On July 1, a Tesla Model S Plaid locked in a driver after it burned “spontaneously” in a residential area in Haverford, Pennsylvania, according to Reuters.
Firefighters were required to lay a 5-inch supply line to the accident site so they could “extinguish the fire and cool the batteries to ensure complete extinguishing,” said a statement from the Gladwyne Fire Department obtained by The edge.
In another episode, Tesla said it “immediately dispatched a team to the scene” after a Model S caught fire in a 2019 Shanghai parking garage.
Video of the incident was widely distributed by Chinese state media.
The carmaker said the fire was likely caused by a “battery pack damaged by an impact on the underside of the car,” the carmaker said. Yicai Worldwide.
Teslas aren’t the only electric cars of concern to regulators.
Last month, the NHTSA urged owners of Chevy Bolts from 2017 to 2019 to park their cars outside and away from homes “because of the risk of fire.”
“The vehicles that must be parked outside are those that face the potential of an unattended fire in the high-voltage battery pack under the lower back seat cushion,” the administration said.
Vindum, for his part, says he waited weeks for Tesla to determine what was wrong with his car.
“As far as I know, they never showed up,” he said.
He replaced the charred cars with an Audi.
“Gasoline-powered cars don’t catch fire in the garage when they’re there. And that’s the difference,” he told the Post. ‘I’m not worried about’ [my] Audi catches fire downstairs if it’s not running.’