In truth, the US electric power standard for homes is more like it used to be previously, in many countries of continental Europe. Until Europe went 230/240V throughout the house, ca. mid to late 1960s.
Which means, it's true that the common wall socket is 115 VAC in the US, but that does not apply to heavy appliances. Electric stoves and ovens, clothes driers, AC and heating, water heaters, and presumably even the hybrid car socket in the garage, are 230 VAC in US homes. (E.g., we have 230VAC available in our garage.)
So I don't think the max currents encountered here and in Europe are actually all that different.
When I see the wooden framed housing and the method of including flex wires in wooden walls I always get the shivers. (There is a series on TV about rebuilding homes in the US, forgot the name) Your current is twice ours (We are on a 240V grid) and even then currents can go to 16A here. Everybody with such a car must understand that charging it will consume a HUGE amount of current to be able to quickly refuel your car. Therefore I directly had the feeling that the electrical system in the garage must be the case: Cell charge is very well managed. We have an enormous problem with illegal cannabis grow sites. They bridge their mains fuses with aluminium foil (DONT TRY THIS AT HOME ;-) hence, much of those burn down due to electric shortage or overload. And I am aways happy when I hear such a story ;-)
Just a comment about proper grounding: that's a good thing in itself, but I dare to say that (most probably) unreliable grounding hasn't been the cause for the above mentioned fire. If a part fails, overheating and igniting the rest of the device (as well as the rest of the garage), proper grounding alone can't help.
So, besides optimal grounding, good wirings, a residual-current device, etc., I won't put much hype on an interesting feature, as if it were to always save from fires(...)
Gasoline is a concern? Maybe we should rethink on how to make better diesel engines, while the *long* transition to EV is developing. In that case fuel won't be a worry after a crash, beside environmental matters(...)
GM is switching over to A123 LiFePO4 cells, as was recently reported in the news. Most others I believe still use traditional Li-based cells.
LiFePO4 can be considered completely safe, mainly because of no lithium metal plating (terminal voltage is too low), venting gas is at a low temperature, and the chemistry breakdown only above 600 degrees C where as the others are around 200 to 400.
You can see petrol leak and plug it. Petrol liquid also does not burn, only vapour. With a dry battery you can not see/evaluate the risk.
The EV1 failed because an oil company purchased the patent for the battery pack and there was no alternative (coming from a friend that visited the factory).
The media is a bit lazy and likes to rely on templates. Just switch "EV1" with "Volt" and you have a new story!
I'm not an EV fan in its current state. But to be fair, much of the EV1 bad press was not due to insurmountable failures of the EV1. Some of it had nothing to do with the EV1.
Read an article equating these fires with the failure of government; GM=Government Motors, etc. Have a feeling these fires will take on urban myth proportions for those pushing for the Keystone pipeline.
On the other hand, I've yet to hear of a single Tesla fire; my gut feel is that with anything completely new, there may be some design gremlins. Does that equate to the breakdown of free society and prove the US is a doomed socialist state? Maybe not . . . quite possibly a problem that can be solved with the inclusion of a dry powder fire extinguisher and a term life policy in purchase price.
As we unveil EE Times’ 2015 Silicon 60 list, journalist & Silicon 60 researcher Peter Clarke hosts a conversation on startups in the electronics industry. Panelists Dan Armbrust (investment firm Silicon Catalyst), Andrew Kau (venture capital firm Walden International), and Stan Boland (successful serial entrepreneur, former CEO of Neul, Icera) join in the live debate.