In a bid to prove that Tesla batteries catch on fire, Paris-based Axa Insurance recently performed what internet users are calling a “bizarre demonstration”. The insurer staged a test using a Tesla Model S without the battery for the safety of the 500-odd audience and installed “pyrotechnics” with an aim to validate the dangers of owning electric vehicles.
According to a statement by Axa, EVs can pose a risk of fire due to the batteries. Axa told 24auto.de that it would have been “too dangerous” to demonstrate an actual battery fire so the company removed the battery cells before the tests. This same reasoning applied to its decision to ignite the fire of a Tesla Model S with pyrotechnics.
Internet users are puzzled at the claim that something can catch on fire on the basis of a test without that very object. In fact, many insisted that the US-based electric carmaker’s legal department step in. The test is being called a product of FUD – fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
The insurer AXA set up this incredible demonstration of a Tesla scraping its battery and bursting into flames.
The only problem was… it was 100% staged and 500% bizarre. For audience safety, they removed the battery and… installed pyrotechnics.
What a weird timeline we're in. pic.twitter.com/M3er4ML3ep
— Gavin Shoebridge (@KiwiEV) August 31, 2022
Videos doing rounds on social media show how the underbody of the electric car was severely damaged as a result of the explosion.
“The accident researchers wanted to use the fire: on the one hand to point out the danger of a cell fire, which can result from damage to the underside of the electric car, and on the other hand point out the problems with fires in electric vehicles in general,” the insurer said.
“Fortunately, fires are very rare in electric cars as well as in conventional combustion engines. In the rare case of a battery fire, so-called thermal runaways can occur.”
Following the crash, Axa researchers also noted that the drive battery was very well protected but could still pose a fire hazard.
Michael Pfäffli, head of accident research at Axa Switzerland said that the high torque found in most EVs could result in unwanted, jerky acceleration and loss of control. During the crash test, it was assumed that the driver would lose control of the Tesla, which would then roll over on a traffic island.