Porsche bursts into flames! (Why isn't this news?)

Porsche bursts into flames! (Why isn't this news?)

Porsche hits 140 mph, then Mercer Island building
Posted by Bob Young

.A Porsche Panamera crashed into a Mercer Island building late Friday and burst into flames after a high-speed chase by the State Patrol.

The car reached speeds of 140 mph, according to the Mercer Island Fire Department, before it exited Interstate 90 and slammed into a building in the 3000 block of Island Crest Way just before 11:30 p.m.

The driver and a passenger in the vehicle were taken to a hospital with minor injuries. The car fire did not spread to the building, which contains several medical offices, according to the Fire Department. Damage estimates were not available.

J.T. | November 12, 2013

Probably because it didn't get the highest NHTSA rating in history.

Bane | November 12, 2013

There was also a jaguar with some actor in it that caught fire last month and a bmw in parking lot that caught fire last month.

these are 1 of 10,000 or way more that happen all the time.

Tesla needs to put a simple spreadsheet out showing how many of each brand of car catches fire. Actually Tesla should not have to do this but that is what allot of folks need to see to gain some perspective.

in the meanwhile I love my P85+. I will never go outside the Tesla car family again. My wife needs an SUV and we are looking at the X.

egghead | November 12, 2013

True. But ICE fires occur all the time. Sometimes not even in accidents.

carolinagobo | November 12, 2013

Special interest don't want EVs to succeed.

Aleksandyr | November 12, 2013

I am just concerned that some short will litter the highway with tow hitches here in NCal and start a couple more fires. several hundred dollars of used hitches could result in a huge profit if the stock tanks more

Velo1 | November 12, 2013

The Jaguar was Dick Van Dyke, and the news never mentioned the make of car.

Velo1 | November 12, 2013

Actually, the secondary stories do mention Jaguar by name.

stevenmaifert | November 12, 2013

Porsche has been around a long time. One catching fire is no longer news. Someday it will be the same with Model S, which is not a comforting thought.

sxross | November 12, 2013

It should be no more discomforting than the possibility of an ICE vehicle catching fire. At least you don't stand a chance of getting blown up in a gas-pump explosion. Three fires is not statistically significant. There are too few Teslas and too few fires to draw any conclusions regarding incidence of fire.

As it is, there is about a 0.0167 chance of your Model S catching fire if the current rate is a trend (which, as I've said, it is not).

Feel better?

DouglasR | November 12, 2013

@sxross - I think you are off by a couple of orders of magnitude, depending on what measure you used to make your calculation. Three fires in 15,000 cars is 0.0002. If you compute it based on miles driven, it would probably be about the same.

DouglasR | November 12, 2013

Or maybe you just forgot to add the % sign.

sxross | November 12, 2013

It was the % sign. Which equals 2 orders of magnitude. But the message is still the same. Less than 2 hundredths of a percent chance. Based on 3 observations. WDYT?

donaldmeacham1 | November 12, 2013

None of the aforementioned cars represent a threat to "traditional motoring" the way Tesla does. They are merely variations on the ICE theme.

Jonathan C. | November 13, 2013

I've seen a car like mine (ICE Diesel) burning on the side of the road wile driving... that's was something hehhe. But fire is pretty normal in cars. One friend found a Sofa in the highway here in Switzerland... not really something you would expect to find on your path while on high speeds... and deers are also someghing you could worry about. Just part of the deal. Just a question, do you think it would be a good idea to be able to "drop the battery" quickly to avoid total burning of the car?

Brian H | November 13, 2013


Captain_Zap | November 13, 2013


olanmills | November 13, 2013

You guys are still being too biased for Tesla though. Other cars don't catch fire if they run over debris driving at normal highway speeds.

This topic is kind of stupid. The fact that the Porche caught fire isn't remarkable at all. It's not unremarkable because ICE cars catch fire all the time. It's unremarkable because the Porche was doing 140mph and was being chased by the police and crashed into a building.

The Model S fires are remarkable because they occurred under more mundane conditions.

I am happy Model S owner of 11 months. The Model S is one of the best products I ever bought, but I don't think it's good to try to downplay a vulnerability that the Model S that other cars don't. Of course, ICE cars have a lot of other vulnerabilities that the Model S does not. It's better to point that out, rather than get defensive and start to be misleading.

Brian H | November 14, 2013

a delayed battery fire is no "vulnerability". Run a few ICE cars over tow hitches and see what happens.

rdalcanto | November 14, 2013

If my 911 had struck a 3-prong trailer hitch at 70 mph, I doubt things would have ended well. That is not a mundane event.

elephant in a bottle | November 14, 2013

Don"t forget to wear double padded diapers ;p

dramingly | November 14, 2013

In your own statement, you say that ICE catch fire all the time. Most of these are probably under "mundane" conditions.

A few weekends ago, I was crawling in traffic when I smelled horrible burning. The volkswagen in front of me suddenly stopped and black smoke started billowing from it. Bad samaritan that I am, I didn't stick around to see the flames, but it was almost certainly the beginning of spontaneous car fire in a gas car. I would consider that to be a mundane condition.

If you listen to traffic reports in a congested area like NYC, car fires are very common and they are almost always in areas where nobody is doing 140 mph. Generally under mundane conditions once again.

olanmills | November 14, 2013

Yes, I know car fires happen often for all kinds of reasons, including seemingly spontaneous car fires.

Still, the example in this post, a Porche crashing during a high speed chase is a ridiculous comparison.

And while running over road debris could damage ICE cars in several different ways, I still think it is remarkable in that it's not what people would expect.

If my mom were to drive my car, she of course would naturally be aware that having debris impact the underside of the car could cause damage. However, she would not be naturally aware that there is strong risk of fire simply due to a breakage in a lithium ion cell.

I'm just saying it's noteworthy.

Like you guys, I also think the issue is being overblown by media and detractors, as usual. But I am also saying that I think some people are going too far in defending the Model S as well.

elephant in a bottle | November 14, 2013

Olan, this could have been the tow hitch incident on an ICE car.

Pierced through the floorpan then rear seat.

If you were to run over this type of metal debris, would you rather be on an ICE car? or a Model S?

rdalcanto | November 15, 2013

The Porsche did not hit the building going 140mph. Nobody would have survived. That is how fast they got during part of the chase. Since the occupants weren't seriously hurt, I bet they were going 60 or less. It should not have caught fire....

Brian H | November 15, 2013

Good point, but the item is written in such a way as to make that suggestion, deliberately ambiguous! The car reached speeds of 140 mph, according to the Mercer Island Fire Department, before it exited Interstate 90 and slammed into a building