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 out the window 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 unrelated Tesla fires that happened in the past week.
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A Tesla driver said he had to kick out the window of his Model Y on Friday to escape a fire after the electric car went out of power in Vancouver, Canada.
The owner, Jamil Jutha, told CTV News in Vancouver that the car stopped while being stopped at 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 vents, Jutha told the local news station.
“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 immediately called 911,” 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 an emergency. The Model Y has a mechanical handle located near the window switches, according to the vehicle’s emergency guide.
Jutha told CTV News the emergency option was too difficult for him to figure out in his rush to escape from the car. He said he hopes other drivers will take the time to learn how to use the emergency option, but he doesn’t expect to buy another Tesla. He said he had owned the Model Y for about eight months, CTV News said.
The fire service is investigating the cause of the fire, the newspaper reported. The Vancouver Fire Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment ahead of publication.
A bystander from a nearby distillery captured a 12-minute video of the incident showing smoke filling the car, flames seeping to the front of the car and firefighters submerging the Tesla. In the video Jutha can be heard telling the bystander that he left his golf clubs in the car.
The incident is one of the few seemingly unrelated 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, Edel Ruiz, told Fox News that the fire started near the back of the car, right under the car seat of his four-month-old child.
Fires in electric cars are uncommon, but they can be difficult to put out due to the chemistry of lithium-ion batteries, which burn hotter than gas-powered counterparts. A 2022 report from AutoinsuranceEZ that analyzed 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 compared to a 1 chance. 05% for combustion engine vehicles.
Last year, General Motors recalled about 140,000 Chevrolet Bolt EVs, citing a fire hazard. Earlier this month, Tesla recalled 130,000 cars amid fears the touchscreens could overheat.
In September, Tesla chief executive Elon Musk seemed to agree with an analysis on Twitter that about 0.01% of all Teslas on the road have fires — fewer than gas-powered cars.
“Not super surprising, since combustion engine cars literally have ‘combustion’ in the name,” Musk said on Twitter.