In a test conducted by Oklahoma’s Midwest City Fire Department, sunlight magnified by a water bottle reached 250 degrees.
MCFD’s David Richardson said:
The sunlight will come through, when it’s filled with liquid, and act as a magnifying glass as you would with regular optics. It uses the liquid and the clear material to develop a focused beam and sure enough, it can actually cause a fire, a combustion.
The risk of such a disaster occurring is low, but officials say taking your water bottle with you when exiting the car is the best way to prevent this type of car fire.