Tesla's Vehicle Fire Data provided for the period 2012-2020 reveals that there has been about one vehicle fire for every 205 million miles travelled.
That's over 10-times higher than the average distance between fires than in the case of the national average of 19 million miles in the U.S., according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and U.S. Department of Transportation. However, we must remember that because of the growing production and sales, most of the Tesla cars are new, much younger than the U.S. average.
Both numbers include "instances of vehicle fires caused by structure fires, arson, and other things unrelated to the vehicle," which means that the actual average distance between fires caused by the vehicle itself is even better.
Tesla has also revealed the results for the previous periods: 2012-2018 (170 million miles) and 2012-2019 (175 million miles), which indicate that the average is improving over time.
Tesla Vehicle Fire Data – 2012-2020
"From 2012 – 2020, there has been approximately one Tesla vehicle fire for every 205 million miles traveled. By comparison, data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and U.S. Department of Transportation shows that in the United States there is a vehicle fire for every 19 million miles traveled.
In order to provide an apt comparison to NFPA data, Tesla’s data set includes instances of vehicle fires caused by structure fires, arson, and other things unrelated to the vehicle, which account for some of the Tesla vehicle fires over this time period"
The data is too brief to allow us to draw any conclusions, especially since multiple factors can affect the final number. For example, high sales of Model 3/Y in recent years has highly decreased the average age of the cars, which alone could increase the number of miles per fire instance.
Anyway, it's great to see that Tesla's electric cars are significantly better than the industry average. We guess that electric cars in general will catch fire less often than in the case of conventional cars.
- data includes instances of vehicle fires caused by structure fires, arson, and other things unrelated to the vehicle
- NFPA average for the U.S. includes all cars, also old