The cause of the fire is still not official, but a report suggests that the cooling system in an EV prototype may have malfunctioned

December 28, 2023 at 17:33

 Chrysler Tech Center Fire Was Caused By Secret Electric Prototype

Last month, reports emerged that a fire had broken out at Stellantis’ North American headquarters, in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Now, more details about the incident have emerged, indicating that the fire broke out at the Chrysler Tech Center, and involved an electric vehicle prototype.

The details of the investigation remain shrouded in mystery. However, according to a report from the Auburn Hills Fire Department, the prototype was parked on a lift and had to be extracted from the facility using a forklift.

“Crews made their way to the vehicle and found it with active fire underneath the vehicle and under the hood,” the report, obtained by Crain’s Detroit states. Although the cause of the fire is unclear, “workers present at the time of the incident advised that the vehicle had had some kind of coolant issue.”

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 Chrysler Tech Center Fire Was Caused By Secret Electric Prototype

Fortunately, no injuries were reported, and the building was not damaged in the incident, which was ruled unintentional by the fire department. Electric vehicle batteries malfunctions remain a concern for automakers and consumers, given the energy that can be generated by the cells. The very property that makes them useful for running motors also makes EV fires notably difficult to extinguish.

Stellantis is no stranger to battery cell troubles. The plug-in hybrid variant of the Chrysler Pacifica has been recalled several times over issues relating to its high- and low-voltage battery systems, both of which had been connected to the risk of a fire.

While it remains unclear which prototype Stellantis was working on at the time of the fire, like other automakers, it is actively involved in developing various electric vehicles based on a range of new ‘STLA’ architectures.

Chrysler is in the process of developing an electric crossover, as previewed by the Airflow concept, while Ram is working on an all-electric pickup. Additionally, Dodge is focusing on an electric muscle car, as showcased by the Charger Daytona SRT Banshee concept.

 Chrysler Tech Center Fire Was Caused By Secret Electric Prototype