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April 1

EXCLUSIVE: City to Ban Teslas, Citing Lithium-Ion Battery Fires

5:01 AM EDT on April 1, 2023

“Something has to be done,” Mayor Adams said about electric car fires. Photo: Morris County Fire (main)

Please note: This story, posted at 5:01 a.m. on April 1, was an April Fool's satire.

The Adams administration will issue an emergency order today, April 1, barring the owners of Teslas and other cars powered with lithium-ion batteries from driving their vehicles into the five boroughs, citing the well-documented danger that the batteries pose to the general public.

With federal authorities tracking scores of electric car fires over the past two years, Mayor Adams said he was moving quickly to calm New Yorkers' fears that they will be the next victim of an exploding Tesla, Ford F-150 Lightning or Cadillac Lyriq.

"We've seen the damage these cars can do in cities — with fires that simply can't be extinguished," Hizzoner said, showing pictures of blown-up electric cars from Sacramento, Calif. and Morris County, Penn. (below).

The move comes after the Adams administration is hoping to help the owners of electric bikes and mopeds to charge their vehicles safely after a spate of fires connected to those vehicles' batteries. FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh has repeatedly blamed "e-bikes" for an alleged increase in fires in apartments, but the problem of substandard or damaged lithium-ion batteries goes far beyond micromobility.

And unlike electric bikes, whose batteries are small, cars have massive batteries that are a far greater risk to achieve what's called "thermal runaway," which occurs when the cells inside a battery short circuit after being punctured (such as in a crash) and start producing more heat than can be dispelled.

For example:

It is also believed that Mayor Adams was especially responding to last week's Tesla fire on the Brooklyn Bridge.

"These kinds of incidents are not rare," Mayor Adams said at an early morning press conference on April 1. "So out of an abundance of caution, we are banning these cars until we can figure out what's going on."

In lieu of electric cars, the mayor urged residents to use electric bikes and e-scooters, reiterating support he offered in comments on March 20: "[E-bikes] play a major role in help reducing congestion in how we move around the city as we deal with our environmental issues that we are facing. ... “E-bikes and e-scooters are ... part of our movement. Now we must make sure they are incorporated in our everyday lives."

This is a breaking story and will be updated later on April 1. Calls to Tesla were not immediately returned.

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