Image source: Electrive
The image of a burning Tesla sedan caused some concern last week, but the accident and fire were just a demonstration of AXA.
Insurance company AXA said it organized the protest to show how electric cars can catch fire quickly after an accident.
Although there were some concerns about the fire, AXA assured people that it wasn’t Tesla’s battery that caught fire.
The Paris-based company said it removed the battery from the vehicle prior to the demonstration.
The Swiss Automobile Trade Association has released a video of the crash test in which a Tesla crashes into an obstacle, flips over and lands on the roof.
In the video, an engine rumble is heard shortly after, before the front half of the car catches fire.
Meanwhile, those present applauded the demonstration.
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AXA Switzerland said on Thursday that it regretted 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.”
“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.”
The company also said it has taken steps to protect spectators at the event.
The firm confirmed that the car’s battery was removed and that the fire was extinguished “under controlled conditions”.
“In addition, the Crash Test with a Tesla vehicle did not cause the type of damage to the undercarriage that would be likely to spark a battery fire as the images would appear to suggest,” explains AXA.
Additionally, the company admitted to using pyrotechnics to start the fire.
An explanation of the demonstration
AXA is known for conducting crash tests to solve 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 echoed AXA’s view, saying electric cars are less likely to catch fire than their gas-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.
In recent years, several automakers have issued recalls over fears the batteries could catch fire.