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Reminder: Despite The Memes, Gas Cars Burst Into Flames & Explode Far, Far More Often Than EVs Do

While electric vehicle detractors often like to make comments about exploding battery packs, or cars bursting into flames, etc., the simple fact of the matter is that internal combustion engine vehicles do so far, far more often.

While one would probably think that this would be obvious — after all, gasoline and diesel are far more flammable, and ICE engines far more prone to exploding, than the armored battery packs used in production electric vehicles — it seems to need repeating….

With that in mind, I recently came across “excellent” pictures (apologies to the owner) of a 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 that burst into flames when at the track.

Shelby fire

Image by “HiPo Joe Charles

Autoblog provides the details, stating that, “one owner of a 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 found this out the hard way when his car burst into flames at 120 miles per hour while attending a track day at Georgia’s Roebling Road Raceway. Joe Charles, owner of the Triple Yellow GT350, was out for his second track day with the car when the incident happened. During the final session of the day, component failure in the engine caused a massive oil leak. When the oil hit the hot exhaust it started a fire that quickly worked its way through the car. A fuel line burst and sent flames shooting under and behind the car. Photos of the car on his Facebook page show fire shooting several feet in all directions.”

Want more details? Here’s the rest of the story: “Charles says that fire boiled the brake fluid, turning the pedal to mush. When he attempted to use the handbrake, the cable snapped. Left with no alternative and traveling about 100 mph toward turn one, he threw the car in first and dropped the clutch. The car eventually came to a stop, allowing Charles to escape uninjured. He and several track workers were able to quickly extinguish the fire, but the damage was done.” (Hmm, that’s not exactly what happens when a Tesla caught fire.)

Of note here, is that the owner is apparently having his 2016 GT350 replaced by Ford with a brand-new 2017 GT350R — so… not all bad. The owner has revealed that Ford and also the local dealership that he purchased from had been “very good to him.”

Still, this is a bit of a scary story. Though he seems to have gotten out of the situation without any real health problems, it could have easily been much worse.

Not that most current EVs don’t have their downsides (typically, either price or range), but have you ever seen an EV turn into an inferno like that out of nowhere?

Recommended: “22 Ways To Delay The Electric Car Revolution.”

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Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.


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