Image source: Electrive
The image of a Tesla Sedan burning stirred some concerns last week, but the crash and fire was merely a demonstration from AXA.
Insurance firm AXA explained that they held the demonstration to show how electric cars can quickly erupt into a blaze after an accident.
While there were some concerns about the fire, AXA assured people that it was not Tesla’s battery that caught fire.
Before the demonstration, the Paris-based company said it removed the vehicle’s battery ahead of the demonstration.
The Swiss Auto Trade Association released a video of the crash test, showing a Tesla speeding towards an obstacle and flipping over, landing on its roof.
A pop can be heard from the engine in the video moments later before the front half of the car bursts into flames.
Meanwhile, the people in attendance clap to the demonstration.
AXA Switzerland released a statement on Thursday saying it regretted the crash test as it gave a “false impression,” creating confusion in its wake.
“AXA Switzerland’s statistics show that drivers of electric vehicles cause 50 percent more collisions with damage to their own vehicles than drivers of conventional vehicles with combustion engines,” wrote AXA.
“What the statistics also show is that drivers of more powerful electric vehicles cause damage to either their own or someone else’s vehicle more frequently.”
“Our aim with this year’s Crash Tests was to draw attention to these insights from our statistics and – at the same time – raise awareness of the risks that can potentially arise with accidents involving battery-powered cars.”
The company also said it took steps to protect spectators during the demonstration.
The firm confirmed that the car battery was removed and that the fire was put out “under controlled conditions.”
“In addition, the Crash Test with a Tesla vehicle did not cause the type of damage to the undercarriage that would be likely to spark a battery fire as the images would appear to suggest,” AXA said.
Additionally, the company admitted that it used pyrotechnics to ignite the fire.
Explanation on the demonstration
AXA is known for conducting crash tests in an effort to raise issues of road safety.
The firm said its data show electric vehicles catch fire at a lower rate compared to combustion-engine automobiles.
AXA Switzerland’s statement also shared support for Tesla, writing:
“We firmly believe that e-vehicles will play a key role in the automotive future. This is why we see it as important to take an in-depth look at electromobility and its safety.”
Experts reinforced the sentiments, estimating that electric cars catch fire less often than gasoline-fueled vehicles.
However, they also added that the blaze may be more difficult to put out.
Despite the demonstration, there is still a risk of electric vehicle batteries igniting, and several automakers have issued recalls in recent years due to concerns of batteries catching fire.