Image source: Electrive
The image of a burning Tesla sedan caused some concern last week, but the crash and fire were just a demonstration by AXA.
Insurance company AXA said it organized the protest to show how electric cars can quickly burst into flames after an accident.
Although there were some concerns about the fire, AXA assured people that it was not Tesla’s battery that caught fire.
Ahead of the protest, the Paris-based company said it had removed the battery from the vehicle ahead of the protest.
The Swiss Automobile Trade Association released a video of the crash test showing a Tesla racing towards an obstacle, overturning and landing on its roof. In the video, an engine roar can be heard shortly after, before the front half of the car bursts into flames.
Meanwhile, those present applauded the demonstration.
AXA Switzerland issued a statement on Thursday, saying they were regretting the crash test because it gave a “false impression” and caused confusion.
“AXA Switzerland’s statistics show that drivers of electric vehicles cause 50 percent more collisions with damage to their own vehicles than drivers of conventional vehicles with combustion engines,” writes AXA.
“What the statistics also show is that drivers of more powerful electric vehicles cause damage to either their own or someone else’s vehicle more frequently.”
“With this year’s crash tests, we wanted to draw attention to this information from our statistics while raising awareness of the potential risks of accidents involving battery-powered cars.”
The firm also said it took steps to protect spectators at the demonstration.
The company confirmed that the car’s battery was removed and that the fire was extinguished “under controlled conditions”.
Our aim with this year’s Crash Tests was to draw attention to these insights from our statistics and – at the same time – raise awareness of the risks that can potentially arise with accidents involving battery-powered cars.” AXA said.
Additionally, the company admitted to using pyrotechnics to start the fire.
Explanation of the demonstration
AXA is known for performing crash tests to address road safety issues.
The company said its data shows electric vehicles are less likely to catch fire than cars with internal combustion engines.
The statement from AXA Switzerland also shared its support for Tesla, writing:
“We firmly believe that e-vehicles will play a key role in the automotive future. This is why we see it as important to take an in-depth look at electromobility and its safety.”
Experts reiterated AXA’s sentiments, saying electric cars are less likely to catch fire than their gasoline-powered counterparts.
However, they also added that the fire may be more difficult to put out.
Despite the demonstration, there is still a risk of electric vehicle batteries catching fire, and several automakers have issued recalls in recent years over fears the batteries could catch fire.
A Tesla burst into flames during a crash test. The organizer admitted it was staged
Insurance firm stages Tesla crash test, fakes ‘battery’ fire