Tesla delivering half-charged vehicles as sea shippers look to avoid the Felicity Ace fate
The incident with the Felicity Ace container ship that sank while even specialized maritime firefighting companies couldn't put out the electric Porsches on board may have had some unintended consequences. Some owners of newly ordered Teslas have been notified that they will be delivered half-charged vehicles, against the automaker's usual full-charge policy so far.
While Tesla apologizes in the memo and says that it will compensate them with free Supercharger miles, it also cites a "new industry policy" that is mandating it to deliver cars with "a max 50% charge." Coincidentally, a lot of maritime transportation companies now require that EV makers dock their vehicles on board with just 20%-50% charge, or they won't be allowed on the ship.
Needless to say, the Felicity Ace incident may have prompted a strict enforcement of those rules, since the container ship kept burning no matter how much water was poured on it by the sea firefighters from SMIT Salvage. At the time, the speculation was that among the luxury vehicles the Felicity Ace was loaded with were a number of Porsche Taycans.
Electric vehicles are notoriously difficult to put out when thermal runaway causes their batteries to ignite, as many a US firefighting department is now intimately aware of. From the spontaneous combustion of a junkyard Tesla, to the numerous blazes caused by flooded EVs in Florida, firefighters had to resort to novel procedures for more efficient dousing of their batteries with water, as the only approach Tesla suggests in its support manual.
Some firefighting equipment companies like the Austrians from Rosenbauer have even developed high-pressure nozzles that pierce the battery pack and drench the cells directly, as an ingenious way to save on the copious amount of water needed to put an EV fire otherwise. Ultimately, the fate of Felicity Ace that sank with burning vehicles on board may have resulted in new owners getting their Teslas at half charge, since a lot of them are now coming from Giga Shanghai directly.