Today AXA Insurance, the world's largest insurance group, issued an apology for faking a Tesla battery fire. A few days ago, the company simulated a test on a public street to prove that a Tesla battery could catch fire. The test used a Tesla Model S, but instead of a battery, the vehicle used smoke and fire to simulate a fire, which I have to say is really baffling.
Today, AXA issued a letter of apology, saying it was sorry that the crash test "may have conveyed an unfavorable impression of electric vehicles or caused misunderstandings.
AXA said they realize that this particular test may have misled the public and that "in a simulated electric vehicle fire accident, we must take steps to ensure the safety of the public. Therefore, the test car did not have a battery and the fire was started by remote. In addition, the crash tests conducted with Tesla-branded models did not cause damage to the underbody that could have triggered a battery fire, contrary to what the images taken may have shown. We should have clearly mentioned this fact in our post-test communications, especially in the press release and in the images provided."
AXA also stated, "This test, which is intended to illustrate the alleged risk, should have been designed differently. We made it clear in the press release that according to AXA Switzerland statistics, electric vehicles are no more likely to catch fire than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. However, the images we published were taken out of context and led to misunderstandings. We regret any misunderstanding and apologize. We will re-analyze this year's crash tests in detail, learn from them and use them to strengthen our commitment to future road safety."
It's nice of AXA to apologize, but they did so only after being pointed out by various media outlets for faking a battery fire. What's even stranger is that according to AXA's press office, they used pyrotechnics at the event with 500 spectators, as they didn't want a real battery fire for safety reasons, so the question is why would they choose to test on a public road, which in itself shouldn't be legal either, if they were concerned about safety then they should have done it at a dedicated test site.