IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Tesla Megapack goes up in flames at Australian battery site

The fire took place during a trial run of one of the biggest batteries in the world

Employees were evacuated from a testing plant near Melbourne, Australia on Friday after a fire broke out inside a Tesla Megapack battery container.

The fire started during the trial of the Victorian Big Battery energy project near Melbourne, run by French-firm Neoen who had contracted Tesla to deliver and operate the Megapack system.

Over 30 fire trucks and support vehicles and around 150 firefighters from the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) responded to the incident, which started at 10:30am local time.

Upon closer inspection, firefighters found a 13-tonne lithium battery on fire inside a shipping container. Crews wearing breathing apparatus worked to quickly contain the blaze and prevented it from spreading to nearby batteries.

A warning was issued for toxic smoke for local residents who were advised to close windows and doors, turn off heating and cooling systems, and bring pets indoors. A scientific officer conducted atmospheric monitoring on the scene and FRV’s specialist drone unit was also deployed to monitor the fire.

A close up of the Tesla battery on fire

CFA

“There was one battery pack on fire to start with, but it did spread to a second pack that was very close to it,” said CFA incident controller and District 7 acting assistant chief fire officer Ian Beswicke. “The plan is that we keep it cool on the outside and protect the exposures so it doesn’t cause any issues for any of the other components in the power station.”

Beswicke added that the CFA will continue to monitor the situation overnight. The cause of the fire is still undetermined and will be investigated “once it is safe to do so”.

A spokesperson from Neoen told IT Pro that no one was injured during the fire and the site had been evacuated. 

"The site has been disconnected from the grid and there will be no impact to the electricity supply," said the spokesperson, adding that the fire is now out and the situation is being monitored.

IT Pro has contacted Tesla for comment.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk wrote on Twitter “Prometheus Unbound” following the news of the fire at the battery site, referring to the god of fire.

The Victorian Big Battery project aims to support the Australian state’s mission of using 40% renewable energy by 2025 and 50% by 2030. It uses Tesla’s Megapack technology, which is designed for grid-scale commercial projects. Each Megapack is pre-assembled with battery modules, bi-directional inverters, a thermal management system, an AC main breaker, and controls in one enclosure.

In April, Texas police investigating the Tesla car that crashed without any passengers in the driver’s seat were set to serve the company a warrant for the vehicle’s data. Theories emerged that the vehicle was in ‘autopilot’ mode when it careered off a bend at high speed.

Furthermore, the crash highlighted concerns around hard-to-extinguish fires when it comes to electric cars, according to The Washington Post. Officials said the battery inside the vehicle ignited after the collision, causing a fire that burnt for four hours and required over 30,000 gallons of water to extinguish.

Featured Resources

Accelerating AI modernisation with data infrastructure

Generate business value from your AI initiatives

Free Download

Recommendations for managing AI risks

Integrate your external AI tool findings into your broader security programs

Free Download

Modernise your legacy databases in the cloud

An introduction to cloud databases

Free Download

Powering through to innovation

IT agility drive digital transformation

Free Download

Recommended

Skills shortages expected to hit over 90% of Australian and New Zealand businesses
Careers & training

Skills shortages expected to hit over 90% of Australian and New Zealand businesses

28 Jun 2022
Why India wants to become a chipmaking powerhouse
components

Why India wants to become a chipmaking powerhouse

28 Jun 2022
Samsung fined $14 million over misleading water resistance claims across its Galaxy smartphones
Mobile Phones

Samsung fined $14 million over misleading water resistance claims across its Galaxy smartphones

23 Jun 2022
Toshiba eyes $22bn buyout offer in bid to go private
Business strategy

Toshiba eyes $22bn buyout offer in bid to go private

23 Jun 2022

Most Popular

Former Uber security chief to face fraud charges over hack coverup
data breaches

Former Uber security chief to face fraud charges over hack coverup

29 Jun 2022
Macmillan Publishers hit by apparent cyber attack as systems are forced offline
Security

Macmillan Publishers hit by apparent cyber attack as systems are forced offline

30 Jun 2022
FCC commissioner urges Apple and Google to remove TikTok from app stores
data protection

FCC commissioner urges Apple and Google to remove TikTok from app stores

29 Jun 2022