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A Tesla driver said he kicked out a window to escape an electric-car fire in his Model Y

Business Insider US
Tesla Model 3 vehicles at the company's factory in Shanghai, China. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
Tesla Model 3 vehicles at the company's factory in Shanghai, China. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
  • A Model Y caught fire in Vancouver on Friday and the driver said he kicked the window out to escape.
  • Tesla doors have an emergency release option, but the driver said it was too difficult to figure out.
  • The incident was one of three unconnected Tesla fires to occur over the past week.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

A Tesla driver said he had to kick out the window of his Model Y to escape a fire after the electric car lost power in Vancouver, Canada on Friday.

The owner, Jamil Jutha, told CTV News in Vancouver that the car shut down while he was stopped near an intersection. It lost all power to its electronic components, including the vehicle's electric door handle, he said. Smoke then began to fill the car through the air vents, Jutha told the local news outlet.

"The doors wouldn't open. The windows wouldn't go down," he told CTV News, saying he panicked. "I kicked through the window, climbed out and called 911 right away," he added.

Jutha and Tesla did not respond to a request for comment from Insider.

All Teslas have a manual release option for opening the doors in the case of an emergency. The Model Y has a mechanical handle that is located near the window switches, according to the vehicle's emergency response guide.

Jutha told CTV News the emergency option was too difficult for him to figure out in his haste to escape the car. He said he hopes other drivers take the time to learn how to work the emergency option, but he doesn't expect to buy another Tesla. He said he'd owned the Model Y for about eight months, CTV News said.

Firefighters are investigating the cause of the fire, the outlet reported. The Vancouver Fire Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment ahead of publication.

A bystander from a nearby distillery took a 12-minute video of the incident that showed smoke filling the car, flames filtering into the front of the car, and the fire department dousing the Tesla in water. In the video, Jutha can be heard telling the bystander that he'd left his golf clubs in the car.

The incident is one of a handful of seemingly unconnected Tesla fires over the past week. On Monday, Fox News reported that a Tesla caught fire in Brooklyn, Illinois. Last week, a Model 3 caught fire in California City, California. The driver, Ediel Ruiz, told Fox News the fire started near the rear of the car, right under his four-month-old's car seat. 

Electric car fires are not common, but they can be difficult to put out due to the chemistry of lithium-ion batteries, which burn hotter than gas counterparts. A 2022 report from AutoinsuranceEZ that analysed data from the National Transportation Safety Board, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and Recalls.gov found that EVs have a 0.03% chance of catching fire as compared to a 1.05% chance for combustion-engine vehicles.

Last year, General Motors recalled about 140,000 Chevrolet Bolt EVs, citing fire risk. Earlier this month, Tesla recalled 130,000 cars over concerns the touch screens could overheat.

In September, Tesla CEO Elon Musk appeared to agree with an analysis on Twitter that fires occur in about 0.01% of all Teslas on the road — less than gas-powered cars.

"Not super surprising, given that internal combustion engine cars literally have 'combustion' in the name," Musk said on Twitter.


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