Vehicles spontaneously combusting and being impaled by metal debris! (not Teslas)

Car impaled image
Screen capture Youtube

The media coverage of Tesla accidents seems to have quieted down for now, probably because the news cycle is so fast and journalists have moved on to something else (or everybody's in a food coma because of thanksgiving). I don't want to rehash what I've already said on this topic (you can read it here and here), but a few recent tweets by Elon Musk deserve a look.

First he retweeted this video, which shows what can happen when a regular car hits a metal debris at high speed:

The Tesla Model S has an armor plate that covers the whole bottom of the car, protecting the battery pack and the occupants of the vehicle (the battery itself acts as armor against these kinds of debris). Pretty much all regular cars don't have this underside protection.

Then Musk posted about a recall by Honda.

Honda is recalling nearly 700,000 Fit subcompact hatchbacks from the 2007 and 2008 model years -- including 143,083 in the U.S. -- because the master switch in the driver's door because rain, snow or other moisture can get in the door and damage the switch, causing it to overheat and smolder, smell and potentially start a fire.

Honda advises owners to park their Fits outdoors until the switch is inspected for damage.

So the cars can potentially spontaneously combust and Honda asks people to park them outside until they can be fixed? Just imagine the media coverage if Tesla had a similar recall...

Then there's another recall for spontaneous fires:

Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday it is issuing two new recalls for fire risks in some 2013 Ford Escape SUVs, after it received new reports of engine fires.

The recalls are the latest setback for the vehicle that now has had seven separate recalls — including five for fires — and have twice forced the automaker to warn drivers to either stop driving them or get alternative transportation. [...]

Ford said it is recalling nearly 140,000 2013 Escape SUVs with 1.6-liter engines in the United States — and 161,333 worldwide — because of fires caused by overheating of the engine cylinder head, which can crack and leak oil. Ford said it had received reports of 13 fires, including one in Canada, stemming from the engine issue.

At least 12 other fires were reported in 2012 that were connected with a November 2012 Escape recall for coolant fluid leaks caused by overheating.

All vehicles have accidents and recalls. That's totally normal.

But I think the contrast between the massive coverage of the Tesla fires, which happened after high-speed accidents, which resulted in no injuries, is quite disproportionate and unfair. This is especially true when there are vehicles that catch on fire without even being in high-speed accidents!

It shows the double-standard against electric vehicles. It would be sad if the electrification of transportation was slowed down by perception issues rather than any real problems.

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