The Mystery of the Flying Flaming Bentley

 

There was a bit of excitement at the Niagara Falls International Rainbow Bridge on November 22. A speeding car caught a good bit of air and exploded. Security camera footage was released showing the vehicle going airborne but the explosion was off camera. Widespread initial reaction was that it had been a terrorist attack. Governor Kathy Hochul said the car was “basically incinerated” in the crash.

It wasn’t long before the terrorism angle was walked back. The occupants had been an older couple who weren’t suspicious, and the car was a new Bentley Flying Spur, costing ~ $300K. It wasn’t what one would expect for a terrorist attack. Mechanical failure, specifically a stuck accelerator, has been speculated.

Occasionally, I have an original thought. I wondered if the car was an EV. It turns out the Bentley Flying Spur offers a choice of “three powertrains: a 4.0 litre V8, a 6.0 litre W12 or a 2.9 litre V6 hybrid.”

A hybrid? Could the explosion and fire have been generated by an EV battery? (Asked in my best mysterious reality show narrator voice)

If anyone knows they haven’t said, but I finally saw someone ask the question here:

It’s possible, although we have no information emerging from the investigation and likely will not be apprised of the relevant facts, that we may be dealing with the sort of blast and combustion associated with the inflammable and unstable components of an EV battery.

This story has gotten pretty quiet. I wonder if we will ever learn the results of the accident investigation.

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  1. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    Interesting question on the power train.  If in fact it was the hybrid, that data point will be smothered until it stops breathing.  

    This is another of those stories that has seemed to disappear almost immediately, because it didn’t fit the preferred narrative. 

    Being curious, I would like to know, as Paul Harvey used to say: “the rest of the story”.

    • #1
  2. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    When dealing with elderly drivers, stomping on the wrong pedal is far more likely than the accelerator actually getting stuck.  Those events appeared in the news fairly regularly when I lived in Arizona.

    • #2
  3. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    kedavis (View Comment):

    When dealing with elderly drivers, stomping on the wrong pedal is far more likely than the accelerator actually getting stuck. Those events appeared in the news fairly regularly when I lived in Arizona.

    the driver and occupant were both 53.  

    Is 53 the new “elderly”?

     

    • #3
  4. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    When dealing with elderly drivers, stomping on the wrong pedal is far more likely than the accelerator actually getting stuck. Those events appeared in the news fairly regularly when I lived in Arizona.

    the driver and occupant were both 53.

    Is 53 the new “elderly”?

     

    It’s possible.  Early-onset etc.  Also if it was a pretty new acquisition they may not have been used to it.

    • #4
  5. Globalitarian Lower Order Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Lower Order Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    When dealing with elderly drivers, stomping on the wrong pedal is far more likely than the accelerator actually getting stuck. Those events appeared in the news fairly regularly when I lived in Arizona.

    the driver and occupant were both 53.

    Is 53 the new “elderly”?

    It’s possible. Early-onset etc. Also if it was a pretty new acquisition they may not have been used to it.

    Are you suggesting early-onset age.  Premature superannuation?

    • #5
  6. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    kedavis (View Comment):

    When dealing with elderly drivers, stomping on the wrong pedal is far more likely than the accelerator actually getting stuck. Those events appeared in the news fairly regularly when I lived in Arizona.

    Yeah. I remember one of those years ago. Old lady who did it was maybe seventeen? Eighteen? Something like that. Could happen to anyone, especially in a car that is new to them.

    • #6
  7. colleenb Member
    colleenb
    @colleenb

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    When dealing with elderly drivers, stomping on the wrong pedal is far more likely than the accelerator actually getting stuck. Those events appeared in the news fairly regularly when I lived in Arizona.

    the driver and occupant were both 53.

    Is 53 the new “elderly”?

     

    Being 69 myself, I think 53 is the new teenager. 😁 Seriously would like to more. New car and the driver just wasn’t used to it yet? Some sort of weird Viking funeral? 

    • #7
  8. Matt Bartle Member
    Matt Bartle
    @MattBartle

    kedavis (View Comment):

    When dealing with elderly drivers, stomping on the wrong pedal is far more likely than the accelerator actually getting stuck. Those events appeared in the news fairly regularly when I lived in Arizona.

    That’s my theory. Panic sets in and the driver pushes the accelerator harder thinking it’s the brake. There was an issue in the 80’s with Audi 5000’s and i think that was the explanation.

    Interesting theory about it being a hybrid. It did accelerate very fast to get that much speed, and electric cars have good acceleration.

    • #8
  9. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    My daughter did this in a parking lot at a young age. It can happen to anyone. 

     

    • #9
  10. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    kedavis (View Comment):

    When dealing with elderly drivers, stomping on the wrong pedal is far more likely than the accelerator actually getting stuck. Those events appeared in the news fairly regularly when I lived in Arizona.

    Like all those “sudden acceleration” problems with the Audi’s a few years ago- more likely the driver pushed on the  wrong pedal &when the car failed to slow-they stomped harder. Hard to get the mom of the teen run over to believe that she hit the wrong pedal & smashed her son…

    • #10
  11. Doug Watt Member
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    From a Car and Driver article:

    Electric motors’ inherent advantage in their ability to quickly deliver maximum torque from rest is the major reason so many EVs are quick. A secondary reason many mainstream EVs can leap away from stoplights as if being chased by a pack of coyotes is that they have front and rear motors working through all four tires. This extra traction enables them to channel more of their power to the pavement than if they had two-wheel drive and to launch from rest aggressively with minimum or no wheelspin. Many of the quickest gas-engine cars employ all-wheel drive for much the same reason.

    Electric vehicles also tend to be spectacularly swift when punching it from cruising speed, a further advantage of electric motors’ quick responses and not having to wait for the multi-gear downshift that a gas-engine vehicle would do in that scenario. However, EVs’ lack of gearing does hurt their high-speed acceleration (say, 150 mph-plus) as well as their top speeds, which are generally much lower than their gas-engine supercar counterparts.

    I don’t know the Bentley Hybrid configuration but EV’s are quicker than internal combustion engines with the exception of top cruising speed.

    • #11
  12. Addiction Is A Choice Member
    Addiction Is A Choice
    @AddictionIsAChoice

    Well, they were reportedly on their way to a KISS concert: “Moving fast down 95 … ”

    • #12
  13. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    When dealing with elderly drivers, stomping on the wrong pedal is far more likely than the accelerator actually getting stuck. Those events appeared in the news fairly regularly when I lived in Arizona.

    the driver and occupant were both 53.

    Is 53 the new “elderly”?

     

    I’m 68.  Does that make me the new “walking dead”?

    • #13
  14. Doug Watt Member
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Stad (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    When dealing with elderly drivers, stomping on the wrong pedal is far more likely than the accelerator actually getting stuck. Those events appeared in the news fairly regularly when I lived in Arizona.

    the driver and occupant were both 53.

    Is 53 the new “elderly”?

     

    I’m 68. Does that make me the new “walking dead”?

    No, 68 is the new 67 so get out and join a men’s full contact hockey league and have some fun.

    • #14
  15. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    When dealing with elderly drivers, stomping on the wrong pedal is far more likely than the accelerator actually getting stuck. Those events appeared in the news fairly regularly when I lived in Arizona.

    the driver and occupant were both 53.

    Is 53 the new “elderly”?

     

    I’m 68. Does that make me the new “walking dead”?

    No, 68 is the new 67 so get out and join a men’s full contact hockey league and have some fun.

    LOL I’m not sure I could afford all the crowns . . .

    • #15
  16. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    I have not heard of EV’s “exploding”.  They burn really hot, but I don’t think they explode in a fireball.

    • #16
  17. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    I have not heard of EV’s “exploding”. They burn really hot, but I don’t think they explode in a fireball.

    Make EV Explosions Great Again!

    • #17
  18. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    I have not heard of EV’s “exploding”. They burn really hot, but I don’t think they explode in a fireball.

    If you have a hybrid, it’s possible to get the best of both worlds: a gasoline explosion AND a battery fire! 

    (Actually, I’m not sure gasoline explodes as much as it burns extremely fast, but I went with explosion.)

    • #18
  19. Casey73 Coolidge
    Casey73
    @Casey73

    colleenb (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    When dealing with elderly drivers, stomping on the wrong pedal is far more likely than the accelerator actually getting stuck. Those events appeared in the news fairly regularly when I lived in Arizona.

    the driver and occupant were both 53.

    Is 53 the new “elderly”?

    “Being 69 myself, I think 53 is the new teenager. 😁 Seriously would like to more. New car and the driver just wasn’t used to it yet? Some sort of weird Viking funeral?”

    Looked more like a Hindu funeral pyre to me.

    • #19
  20. Globalitarian Lower Order Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Lower Order Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    Stad (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    When dealing with elderly drivers, stomping on the wrong pedal is far more likely than the accelerator actually getting stuck. Those events appeared in the news fairly regularly when I lived in Arizona.

    the driver and occupant were both 53.

    Is 53 the new “elderly”?

    I’m 68. Does that make me the new “walking dead”?

    Well, walking is good.

    • #20
  21. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    I have not heard of EV’s “exploding”. They burn really hot, but I don’t think they explode in a fireball.

    They can and do explode.  Check youtube, for example.

    • #21
  22. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    I have been baffled by the lack of information subsequent to the declaration that it was not terrorism. 

    Most mysterious to me is why the car was supposedly going approximately 100 mph at the point of impact. Accelerator / brake pedal confusion normally happens at low speeds (driving into or out of parking spaces), and is usually figured out before speeds get too fast. My car (with me in it) was hit in a supermarket parking lot in August by a driver who was so confused, and he was probably in his late 80s, as he referenced having driven for more than 70 years.

    Even though a Bentley is fast, it still takes several seconds to get from normal road speeds to 100 mph. It takes longer to get from 60 mph to 100 mph than to get from 0 to 60 mph. Barring some medical event, I find it difficult to believe someone could remain confused about which pedal he was pushing for that long as the world around him gets so blurry. And I doubt that someone enamored of the speed of which his car is capable is going to choose the vicinity of the international border crossing to try it out. Something is still not adding up.  

    My non-scientific observation of the video available is that the explosion looks more consistent with an uncontained gasoline burn rather than a battery burn. Whatever sent the car airborne, if the car rode over it, may have ruptured the gasoline tank. Though if there’s a large battery, that too would be on the bottom of the car. Once liquid gasoline is no longer contained within a strong container, it evaporates (turns into gaseous form) quickly, and as it turns into gaseous form, burns so rapidly it might as well be an explosion. A hybrid Bentley is still going to have a substantial gasoline tank (it looks like 18 gallons, instead of the 19.8 gallons of the purely gasoline version).  

    • #22
  23. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    I think the last straw that got Geraldo kicked off The Five was when he said he would get an all-electric Bentley.

     

    • #23
  24. Randy Hendershot Lincoln
    Randy Hendershot
    @RicosSuitMechanic

    Stad (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    When dealing with elderly drivers, stomping on the wrong pedal is far more likely than the accelerator actually getting stuck. Those events appeared in the news fairly regularly when I lived in Arizona.

    the driver and occupant were both 53.

    Is 53 the new “elderly”?

     

    I’m 68. Does that make me the new “walking dead”?

    If you are, lemme know. I’m 72 and I remember that grumpy bitch with a katana….

    • #24
  25. Globalitarian Lower Order Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Lower Order Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    I have been baffled by the lack of information subsequent to the declaration that it was not terrorism.

    Most mysterious to me is why the car was supposedly going approximately 100 mph at the point of impact. Accelerator / brake pedal confusion normally happens at low speeds (driving into or out of parking spaces), and is usually figured out before speeds get too fast. My car (with me in it) was hit in a supermarket parking lot in August by a driver who was so confused, and he was probably in his late 80s, as he referenced having driven for more than 70 years.

    Even though a Bentley is fast, it still takes several seconds to get from normal road speeds to 100 mph. It takes longer to get from 60 mph to 100 mph than to get from 0 to 60 mph. Barring some medical event, I find it difficult to believe someone could remain confused about which pedal he was pushing for that long as the world around him gets so blurry. And I doubt that someone enamored of the speed of which his car is capable is going to choose the vicinity of the international border crossing to try it out. Something is still not adding up.

    My non-scientific observation of the video available is that the explosion looks more consistent with an uncontained gasoline burn rather than a battery burn. Whatever sent the car airborne, if the car rode over it, may have ruptured the gasoline tank. Though if there’s a large battery, that too would be on the bottom of the car. Once liquid gasoline is no longer contained within a strong container, it evaporates (turns into gaseous form) quickly, and as it turns into gaseous form, burns so rapidly it might as well be an explosion. A hybrid Bentley is still going to have a substantial gasoline tank (it looks like 18 gallons, instead of the 19.8 gallons of the purely gasoline version).

    The thing that doesn’t make sense about a stuck accelerator or a confused footing is that for the first two or three seconds that the video showed of the car leaving the checkpoint it was accelerating at a reasonable rate and speed.  The driver’s foot must have been on the accelerator, and not confused with the brake, at least at the beginning of the few seconds before it accelerated enough to fly into the air.

    The guy may have had a sudden heart attack, though.

    • #25
  26. ToryWarWriter Coolidge
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    Seriously though.  What do you think they knew about the Clintons?

    • #26
  27. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    • #27
  28. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    Most mysterious to me is why the car was supposedly going approximately 100 mph at the point of impact. Accelerator / brake pedal confusion normally happens at low speeds (driving into or out of parking spaces), and is usually figured out before speeds get too fast.

    Maybe they had been drinking?

    • #28
  29. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    Seriously though. What do you think they knew about the Clintons?

    Maybe they wanted to get to Canada before Trudeau outlawed:
    free speech
    capitalism
    guns
    Christianity
    Bentleys

    • #29
  30. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    By the way, my compliments on the post title given Bentley’s racing heritage and its traditional use of wings in its logo.

    One version:

     

    Another:

    • #30
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