It was just over a month ago that we reported on a Tesla accident in Austria that resulted in firefighters needing to use a special container to transport the remains of the vehicle and the battery at the scene of the accident.
Now, the owner of the vehicle is having trouble finding someone who will properly recycle his wrecked car and its battery. It's been sitting in one place since the accident and Tyrol reports that "nobody wants to burn their fingers to dispose of the car with its unpredictable 600kg lithium ion battery".
The owner, Dominik Freymuth, says he feels "abandoned by the manufacturer". Every morning he passes by the wreckage of his old vehicle, a stark reminder of being pulled out of his burning vehicle before it was charred to the ground, he says.
To try and get the car taken care of after the wreck, he reached out to Tesla's Austrian disposal partner ÖCAR Autoverwertungs. Tesla's website says "ÖCAR Automobile Recycling has a large network of authorized recycling and disposal partners fully licensed by the Department of the Environment."
But ÖCAR reportedly has "no permission" to take over Tesla models, according to a spokeswoman for the company. She stated: "I can not give you any information because we have no authorization for Tesla."
Many disposal companies don't want to deal with the Tesla batter, because its a "fire hazard" and because you "do not remember where the battery starts and where it stops" - especially after a wreck.
Martin Klingler, waste disposal expert at the Schwaz environmental company DAKA, said (translated):
"Such a large lithium battery can not be taken over by his company, since one does not even know the mix of dangerous substances inside them. The electric vehicle manufacturers kept the composition of their elixirs top secret so as not to lose their competitive edge. The liquid in which the accident car was cooled by the Walchsee is a dangerously poisonous brew, but now a coveted drop. The Montanuniversität Leoben has already secured samples of it in order to discover the secret of its content."
Roland Pomberger, chair for a waste utilization technology in Leoben, when asked on how to deal with a Tesla battery, simply said: "I don't know."
He continued: "That falls into the producer responsibility, and the Walchsee Tesla show that the manufacturer has probably not thought too much about it. Here one has failed to think from cradle to stretcher."
And the fiasco has Freymuth rethinking ever buying a Tesla again: "I will not buy any more, now that I know the time bomb I am sitting on," he said.
Recall, Freymuth lost control of his Tesla and crashed into a tree, after first hitting a guardrail. It was then that the vehicle caught fire.
People passing by the scene of the accident took the man out of the vehicle and called emergency services, we reported last month.
In order to put out the fire, the street had to be closed and fire authorities had to bring in a container user to cool the vehicle. The container held 11,000 liters (11 tons) of water and was designed to eliminate the risk of the battery catching fire.
We noted in October that some 11,000 liters of water are needed to finally extinguish a burning Tesla but an average fire engine only carries around 2,000 liters of water.
Fire brigade spokesman Peter Hölzl was worried after the accident that the car could still catch fire for up to three days after the initial fire.
The container used is said to be suitable for all common electric vehicles. It measures 6.8 meters long, 2.4 meters wide and 1.5 meters high, it is (obviously) waterproof and weighs three tons.
At this point, we can't even say that we're surprised that Tesla's "disposal partner" in Austria doesn't have the licenses or the desire to handle Tesla vehicles. We just hope that the EPA and other environmentalist do-gooders will take an interest in just how "green" the disposal of Tesla's batteries winds up being. But we're sure they won't.
Hey, maybe we can start burying Teslas at the bottom of the ocean, like nuclear waste!