I first saw the headline for this story on Reuters, which left out the most crucial piece of information — the fact that the recall applies to plug-in hybrid cars, not battery-electric cars. My first reaction was “Oh, damn. Volkswagen has a battery fire issue just like Chevrolet has with the Bolt. This is going to set the EV revolution back at least 5 years.”
But then I read the Reuters story more closely and discovered the recall applies to 42,300 plug-in hybrid versions of the Volkswagen Passat, Golf, Tiguan, and Arteon worldwide. Audi also is recalling 24,400 vehicles, while Seat and Skoda are also affected.
According to Bild, German safety regulator KBA explains that, “inadequate fastening of the engine design cover can lead to contact with hot parts and subsequently to fire.” 16 such fires have been reported in Germany. Apparently, the connection to the high voltage battery in those cars is not sufficiently insulated. The issue, then, is not with the batteries catching fire but with high voltage current making contact with parts that then overheat to the point where an under-hood fire results,
My first instinct when I read the full story was that this is hardly an issue for CleanTechnica readers. As a group, we tolerate plug-in hybrids, but don’t really care for them ourselves. In fact, there is evidence some manufacturers are building them just to please regulators and sidestep emissions requirements. But then I asked Google to tell me more on this topic and found the story has been picked up by MSN, US News, the NY Post, and the Sunday Times of South Africa.
The NY Post has a reputation for publishing stories that bash electric cars, climate change, sea level rise, and anything else that right thinking Americans find objectionable. If it is carrying the story, soon every “Drill, Baby, Drill,” gun-totin’, Stupid Duty driver will be guffawing about it on Monday. I thought it was important for you to know this is not a “the sky is falling, we must run and tell the king” moment for EVs.
Ignorance can be cured through the application of relevant information. There is no known cure for stupidity, but knowing the facts can help deflect its most pernicious effects. Consider yourselves informed.
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