This morning, a Tesla Megapack caught fire at a PG&E facility in Monterey County, California, producing so much smoke that the county issued a shelter-in-place advisory for the area. Highway 1 was among several other roads that were told to close.
In order to expand the usage of renewable energy and maintain a consistent power supply, Tesla Megapacks, which are enormous lithium ion batteries, are being integrated into grids. However, a fire involving a lithium ion battery can produce poisonous fumes. Lithium-ion smoke is more dangerous to breathe in when there is more of it in the fire. Due to their size, Megapacks pose a significant risk in the event of a fire. Local authorities have urged residents to stay indoors and close their windows and doors to keep the poisonous smoke outside.
PG&E spokesman Jeff Smith told Motherboard that a fire involving a single Megapack started at 1:30 a.m. No power interruptions have occurred as a result of the incident because the battery facility was cut off from the grid. “No injuries to onsite staff,” as Smith puts it, have occurred. The Monterey County Office of Emergency Services did not immediately provide a comment after we asked for one.
Although the duration of the shelter-in-place recommendation is unclear, KSBW reports that the California Highway Patrol estimated the road closure would take four to six hours.