Has your Ford F-150, Honda Civic, Chevy/GMC SUV, or any other combustion-powered vehicle randomly burst into flames when you left it parked in your garage for the night, risking setting your whole house ablaze?
No, well that’s because it’s not an EV, which can do that, as an owner of a 2019 Jaguar I-Pace named Gonzalo Salazar found out in June of 2022, when he plugged his car, which he had bought new in 2020, in for the night, then unplugged it and left to run some errands. Here’s what he says happened:
On June 16, I plugged the car in before going to bed. In the morning of June 17, I woke up and unplugged the car. Later that morning, I set out to run some errands. I drove about 12 miles that morning before returning back home and parking the car back in the garage, leaving the garage door open.
As I was doing things at home, I heard pops coming from the garage. I decided to go see where the sounds were coming from, and upon walking into the garage, I faced a thick wall of smoke. My thought immediately was, ‘When there is smoke there is fire,’ and I need to get the car out of the house garage.
Fortunately, he was able to get the car out of the garage and onto the street, so though the fire ended up burning his car to a crisp, his home and all inside it was fortunately safe.
Here’s what he describes as happening next:
I went back to the house to get my phone and also noticed that all the smoke in the garage now had filled my entire house because the A/C unit is right next to the garage door. While I was trying to ventilate my house from the smoke I called Jaguar roadside assistance to have them come get the car.
When I ended the conversation with them there were more pops, but this time it was followed by fire from under the car. I then called 911 to come help with the situation. But this was not a slow burn, once the fire started there were multiple pops, and the car was just engulfed in flames rapidly.
Here’s the aftermath:
Another EV fire… this one from Florida earlier this summer. A Jaguar i-pace was parked in an attached garage when the owner heard “popping” sounds and saw smoke puffing from the car. The car was moved outside before it burst into flames. I guess you can call them “lucky”. pic.twitter.com/JUOwthCSb4
— Old Brass (@StoichioGuy) August 2, 2022
That was the fourth random fire of the Jaguar I-Pace, so though the unprovoked fires aren’t super common (there are about 50,000 I-Pace Jaguars on the road), it is somewhat odd that they keep happening.
Yet worse for the EV industry is that the issue isn’t a new one. The same thing happened to the Chevy Bolt EV, as Electrek reported, saying:
Where EV fires require attention is when the electric vehicle’s battery pack catches on fire by itself without any accident or clear external factors, like what appears to be the case with Salazar’s I-Pace.
It’s also what happened with the Chevy Bolt EV. Several fires started when the electric cars were just being parked or charging raised questions about the vehicle’s battery pack, later resulting in a defect found in the LG Chem battery cells used to make those packs.
Chevy and Hyundai – who also used LG Chem cells in the Kona EV – both ended up making massive recalls over the issue. In the case of the former, it took a lot of pressure, including a lot of reporting from Electrek, to finally replace the battery modules.
The fire issue is also a problem because once the lithium fires get started, they’re near impossible to put out, as they burn quite hot, so hot that reignition is often a major issue.
So if you have an EV, maybe park it in the driveway rather than right next to your house, particularly if you’re sleeping.