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Tesla is in the news again after a man claims he kicked his way out of his Tesla Model Y when it caught fire at a red light. The driver, Jamil Jutha, thankfully made it out unharmed, but the Model Y wasn’t so lucky. Flames and ink-black smoke rose high about the Vancouver neighborhood until local firefighters extinguished the blaze. What happened here? Are Teslas Randomly catching fire now

Tesla and Toyota both had cars on the list of best selling cars for Q1 2022
Tesla Model Y | Tesla

Are Teslas a fire risk?

A few extra spicy Teslas have made it to the news recently as fear of EV fires continues to grow. According to Inside EVs, the NHTSA formally requested data from Tesla about this most-recently Tesla fire in Canada. The safety organization is looking for any common thread between the Tesla fires. So, what happened with this Tesla Model Y?

“I literally just pulled up to the stop, put on my left sign, and then all of a sudden it said ‘Error! Error!’ And then all of a sudden I see smoking, and I’m like oh my God, what the f#@k!” said Jutha. “I couldn’t even open it; everything’s electric, so everything stopped. [The] door couldn’t open, I couldn’t put the window down, so I just said ‘Alright, I’m going to kick through it.”

This fear of being trapped in a Tesla is common. Everything, including the doors, is connected to an intricate electrical system that fails in the event of a fire. It stands to reason that the electronically controlled doors might suffer, leading to panic. Thankfully, Teslas have a (somewhat) hidden mechanical door control. Jutha couldn’t find the switch quickly enough and thus made his own exit. 

How did the Tesla Model Y catch on fire?

Inside EVs reports that Jutha was driving along when his Tesla sent an error code before powering down, smoking, then catching fire. Jutha then kicked out the driver’s side window to escape. 

The driver mentioned that he knew about the emergency door open handle but was too overwhelmed to figure it out amid the stress. “The doors wouldn’t open. The windows wouldn’t go down. I kicked through the window, climbed out, and called 911 right away,said Jutha. 

It only took the local fire crew a few minutes to quell the battery blaze. 

What is the NHTSA?

A Tesla crash test proves that EVs are safe and won't roll over as much.
A Tesla crash test vehicle | Patrick Pleul, Getty Images

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is an organization within the Department of Transportation dedicated to making America’s roads safer. By studying road fatalities, crash reports, driving habits, and more, the NHTSA rates cars based on how safe they are. This has led to the NHTSA influencing what carmakers include as standard safety features. 

Ultimately, the NHTSA is one of the best tools we have for regulating car safety and recall criteria. Having the NHTSA on this Tesla case is a good thing. Hopefully, there will be a simple explanation with a simple fix by the end of Tesla’s and the NHTSA’s investigations. 


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