An embattled electric vehicle company has just received more bad news that could damage its image even further.
At the beginning of June, Yahoo Finance reported that electric vehicle startup Rivian had seen its stock price plummet 90 percent from its record high, meaning that the company is on the verge of being pushed out of the NASDAQ 100 Index.
While that may seem like the worst news a company could get, the situation has since only deteriorated for Rivian, as one of its flagship products malfunctioned — and that’s putting it lightly.
According to Carscoops, on Monday, a video emerged of a Rivian R1T truck suddenly bursting into flames while charging at an Electrify America station in Mill Valley, California.
Firefighters quickly rushed to the scene to put out the blaze. A spokesperson for Rivian later gave a statement to Carscoops.
“We are aware of the incident, and we are conducting a full investigation,” the spokesperson said. “Nobody was harmed, and at this time, it does not appear that the vehicle’s high voltage battery was involved.”
WARNING: The following video contains language that some may find offensive.
Video of that @Rivian fire the other day.
It appears something exploded (maybe the 12v battery?). Rivian says the high voltage battery didn’t appear to be involved.
— Matthew Donegan-Ryan (@MatthewDR) June 8, 2023
As of June 8, the automotive news outlet reported, “there is still no official explanation regarding the cause of the fire. However, several commentators have theorized that the fire may have originated near the charge port before spreading to the [trunk].”
This is the absolute worst thing that could have happened to Rivian, as the company had been tanking in the stock market due to similar instances that had occurred in the past.
In May 2022, local NPR outlet WGLT reported that there had been at least three fires in the previous seven months at the Rivian plant in Normal, Illinois: one in a battery that had been in a repair area, one in a vehicle that caught fire inside the plant and one in the automated battery assembly area.
Rivian already had a reputation for this, and now, this latest incident with one of its flagship products could scare away other investors, thereby sealing its fate in the stock market.
However, this is about much more than Rivian. This is a reminder of the challenges facing electric vehicle technology in general.
The left keeps pushing electric vehicles as a climate-friendly alternative to gas-powered vehicles. While EV technology certainly has a lot of potential and is worth exploring further, it still has a long way to go before it can be as useful as a gas engine.
Rivian is not the only company to experience these challenges, as other electric vehicles have proven time and again to be fire hazards.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in 2022, Florida Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis complained to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about problems firefighters encountered with EVs.
“I … saw with my own eyes an EV continuously ignite, and continually reignite, as fireteams doused the vehicle with tens-of-thousands of gallons of water,” he wrote.
“Subsequently, I was informed by the fire department that the vehicle, once again reignited when it was loaded onto the tow truck. Based on my conversations with area firefighters, this is not an isolated incident.
“As you can appreciate, I am very concerned that we may have a ticking time bomb on our hands.”
Electric vehicles are also proving to be unreliable in their current state. They break down much more easily, they lose energy quickly and they take a long time to charge.
Their high price tag — an average of $58,385 as of February, compared to $44,697 for a standard non-luxury vehicle, according to Kelley Blue Book — puts them out of reach for most Americans, meaning that there really is no good reason why anyone would want to buy an electric vehicle right now.
If electric vehicles can be manufactured in a way that makes them safe, reliable and affordable, then their development should be cheered as a climate-friendly technological advancement.
But for now, the electric vehicle has a long way to go before that day comes.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.