Can you guess the culprit?
General Motors was forced to temporarily shut down production at its electric vehicle factory in Detroit after a fire broke out on Tuesday afternoon, the Detroit Free Press reports.
The fire has since been contained and GM resumed operations at "Factory Zero" on Wednesday morning. Authorities are still investigating what sparked the blaze. However, Detroit Fire Chief James Harris has already offered an early explanation, implicating a familiar culprit for EV related fires.
"It wound up being some lithium ion batteries," Harris told the newspaper. He said a third-alarm fire was called, a classification used by fire departments indicating a serious blaze.
All employees were safely evacuated as smoke spread throughout most of the factory, and no one was hurt.
Factory Zero, so named because it's GM's first dedicated EV assembly plant, is where the automaker builds its electric GMC Hummer SUV/pickup and the electric Chevy Silverado pickup truck.
Up until last month, the Cruise Origin was also assembled here. But its production was abruptly delayed after the autonomous vehicle division became the subject of a federal investigation following reports of its robotaxis endangering and striking civilians, the coup de grace of a calamitous year.
Whatever trouble its EVs are getting into on the road, GM claims that its vehicles were not at fault in this incident.
"The fire was not vehicle related, occurred near a shipping dock area," a GM spokesperson told Detroit Free Press. "We are still investigating the cause."
It's unclear if the batteries described by Harris were intended for use in the automaker's electric trucks. It's also undetermined whether the fire started with the batteries. If both are true, though, and EV batteries turn out to be the cause, then it would seem remiss to call the fire "not vehicle related."
As it stands, GM's factory fiasco is less off a bad look for its EVs compared to a similar incident that took place at a Ford holding lot in February, where the rival automaker's F-150 Lightning pickup trucks were captured on video bursting into flames, resulting in a vicious inferno that took hours to extinguish.
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