Another Jaguar I-Pace battery caught fire without any accident after simply being charged in a garage. This is the fourth known I-Pace battery fire that appears to have started on its own, which is starting to matter considering the relatively low number of units on the roads.
Jaguar also uses LG battery cells like the Bolt EV and Kona EV, both of which have been recalled for battery fire hazards. Is this another Bolt EV battery fire situation?
The I-Pace is Jaguar’s first and only fully electric vehicle.
It was released in 2018 and we positively reviewed the vehicle for its sporty design in addition to its decent range and load capacity back then, but that was a few years ago.
The vehicle has hardly been updated in the past four years and is now showing its age. But now there could be an even bigger problem with the electric SUV.
In 2020, Gonzalo Salazar bought a new 2019 Jaguar I-Pace in Florida; he had been driving the electric car without issue for a few years until an incident in June 2022. Salazar described the incident in an email to Electrek:
On June 16, I plugged the car in before going to bed. On the morning of June 17, I woke up and unplugged the car. Later in the morning, I decided to run some errands. I drove about 12 miles that morning before driving home and parking the car in the garage, leaving the garage door open. While I was doing things around the house, I heard pops coming from the garage. I decided to go and see where the noises were coming from, and when I entered the garage, I faced a thick wall of smoke. I immediately thought, “When there is smoke, there is fire”, and I have to get the car out of the garage of the house.
Wanting to protect his home and the animals that lived there, Salazar decided to see if he could get the I-Pace out, even though he was smoking. Amazingly, he was able to walk from his garage to the residential street in front of his house.
I went back home to get my phone and also noticed that all the smoke in the garage had now filled my whole house because the AC unit was right next to the garage door. As I was trying to clear my house of the smoke, I called Jaguar Roadside Assistance to have the car picked up. When I ended the conversation with them there were more pops, but this time it was followed by a fire under the car. I then called 911 to come help with the situation. But it wasn’t a slow burn, once the fire started there were several bangs and the car was quickly engulfed in flames.
Here’s a video Salazar’s neighbor took of the vehicle after it was completely engulfed in fire:
Firefighters showed up and poured fire retardant foam over the vehicle until the fire was out:
There was debris flying everywhere so I kept my distance. After firefighters poured special fire extinguishing foam for what seemed like a long time, the car was still making a humming noise coming from the front of the car.
Salazar shared some photos of the aftermath with Electrek:
Salazar was unimpressed with how the aftermath of the incident was handled. Jaguar came to pick up what was left of the car, but had to clean up a lot of debris from the street himself.
Then came the fire investigation. salazar said Electrek:
My insurance company sent a forensic specialist, did their investigation and declared the car a total loss. Jaguar, on the other hand, is not helpful at all, stating that they need to complete their own investigation, but due to the risk of reigniting the fire, they are unable to find a place where they can lift the car, so their “investigation” is suspended and they take no responsibility for what happened.
Statistics now show that electric car fires are no more common than gasoline car fires; However, there are some issues with electric car fires that need more attention.
The media often draws unwarranted attention to electric vehicles, especially Tesla vehicles, which catch fire after high-speed crashes, which is also quite common with gas-powered vehicles.
Where EV fires require special attention is when the EV battery ignites on its own without any accident or clear external factor, as appears to be the case with the I-Pace by Salazar.
This is also what happened with the Chevy Bolt EV. Several fires that occurred while electric cars were just being parked or being charged raised questions about the vehicle’s battery, later leading to a fault found in the LG Chem battery cells used to make these batteries.
Chevy and Hyundai – which also used LG Chem cells in the Kona EV – both ended up issuing massive recalls over it. In the case of the former, it took a lot of pressure, including lots of reports from Electrek, to finally replace the battery modules.
In the case of the Jaguar I-Pace, the automaker also uses LG pocket battery cells in its electric vehicle:
Now, a single battery fire wouldn’t trigger an alarm, but Salazar’s I-Pace isn’t the first to ignite under similar circumstances.
Electrek reported that a first I-Pace caught fire while parked in a driveway in the Netherlands in 2018. Last year, another I-Pace caught fire while parked in a Oregon driveway. Another Jaguar I-Pace caught fire while charging in Hungary last October.
Consequently, Salazar’s I-Pace is the fourth known I-Pace to catch fire while parked or charging.
While that’s not as many as the 17 known Bolt EV battery fires, it’s still a decent number considering there are just over 50,000 I-Pace EVs on the road today. today. By comparison, GM has delivered over 120,000 Chevy Bolt EVs.
Electrek contacted Jaguar about the Salazar I-Pace fire and asked if the automaker had looked into a connection between these four battery fires, particularly in regards to their LG battery cells.
Jaguar declined to answer our questions and responded with this statement:
Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC is committed to the safety of its customers and we are aware of this I-PACE incident in Boynton Beach, FL. We have been in contact and are cooperating with the adjuster from the customer’s insurance company regarding an inspection of the vehicle. JLRNA is unable to comment further on your questions until the investigation is complete.
As previously reported, Jaguar had told Salazar he was unable to find a place to inspect the vehicle.
Now it’s already on the Copart Salvage Vehicles website.
I want to clarify that fires are not a big risk for electric vehicles; it is entirely possible to make a safe battery with good battery cells that will not ignite on their own. Again, as mentioned earlier, a vehicle catching fire after an accident is a different thing and certainly not unique to electric vehicles.
But those types of incidents where an EV catches fire on its own while parked or charging are definitely something that needs to be looked into and may lead to a recall, as in the case of the Bolt EV.
Hopefully Jaguar is actively looking into this, as it now has three fires under similar circumstances in the past year with, again, a relatively small number of cars on the road. That could be a problem.
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