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Model S Accident/Fire

Thread Summary

Member Generated Post Wiki
Aug 14, 2012
38
11
Tesla posted an official blog entry from Elon on Friday 4-Oct addressing this.

Statements from Tesla (before blog was posted):
On Tuesday, a Model S collided with a large metallic object in the middle of the road, causing significant damage to the vehicle. The car's alert system signaled a problem and instructed the driver to pull over safely, which he did. No one was injured, and the sole occupant had sufficient time to exit the vehicle safely and call the authorities. Subsequently, a fire caused by the substantial damage sustained during the collision was contained to the front of the vehicle thanks to the design and construction of the vehicle and battery pack. All indications are that the fire never entered the interior cabin of the car. It was extinguished on-site by the fire department.

The fire was caused by the direct impact of a large metallic object to one of the 16 modules within the Model S battery pack. Because each module within the battery pack is, by design, isolated by fire barriers to limit any potential damage, the fire in the battery pack was contained to a small section in the front of the vehicle.

Video of fire (warning NSFW language):

Location:


Useful articles on the incident:
Tesla Model S Fire | Car Safety - Consumer Reports News

Your Guide To The Tesla Model S Fire (And Why Its Not A Big Deal) - Jalopnik

Surprise, Cars Sometimes Catch Fire When Crashed! Why Everyone Needs To Take A Breath On Tesla - Motor Authority
A Thought Experiment

Hypothetical: A 2014 Chevy Malibu hits a (presumably rather large) metal object in the roadway, destroying the front end of the car and rupturing the gas tank. The gas tank then catches fire. People take photos and video of it.

Normal day at the office.

See the problem here? Cars catch fire when they crash, sometimes. The Tesla Model S is a car. So what's the big deal?

Elon responds: http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/model-s-fire
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Krugerrand

Enough of the 🐩, back to 🐈‍⬛
Jul 13, 2012
11,700
68,285
Tesla friendly place
Some sort of fluid...brake fluid? It all looks very 'routine' by the firefighters and they're right in there as if they're not worried at all about an 'explosion' and they know exactly what's burning etc..
 

ahaer

Member
Nov 16, 2012
43
31
Brunswick, Maine
Given that the fire is spreading on the ground downhill I would say the car got caught a gas fire of the vehicle that it struck...

Battery fires don't produce streams of burning liquid
 

Krugerrand

Enough of the 🐩, back to 🐈‍⬛
Jul 13, 2012
11,700
68,285
Tesla friendly place
Given that the fire is spreading on the ground downhill I would say the car got caught a gas fire of the vehicle that it struck...

Battery fires don't produce streams of burning liquid

Yes, I thought it might be gas from the other vehicle as well. There's just no 'urgency' in any of these photos and as you say, with the fire going downhill...it's definitely some kind of flammable liquid. They put it out easily and quickly. No biggie. And no need for people to get all concerned about it in terms of it being a fire.
 

Yggdrasill

Active Member
Feb 29, 2012
4,107
7,192
Kongsberg, Norway
Hard to tell if there are streams of burning liquid or if it's molten plastic or something. The one image where the "liquid" seems to be flowing downhill, it is actually hosed downhill by the firefighters.

That the fire at the front mostly eliminates the drive train as a cause, though. It could in theory be the battery, but that seems quite unlikely. More relevant causes could be brakes, a low voltage short, or something similar. There are no other damaged vehicles in sight, so a collision doesn't seem very likely.
 

brianman

Burrito Founder
Nov 10, 2011
17,615
3,216
I find it a little troubling that they (a) chose the headline they did and (b) included zero information on the occupants. Was it a vehicle death or a human death? They (IMO) intentionally chose a title to make that vague (or they just have fail editorial staff and made an honest "mistake").

That said, is the car "dead"? From what we've seen previously (GasDoc for example), that is definitely not "known" from the photos that are shown in the article.
 

qwk

P130DL
Dec 19, 2008
3,024
856
I find it a little troubling that they (a) chose the headline they did and (b) included zero information on the occupants. Was it a vehicle death or a human death? They (IMO) intentionally chose a title to make that vague (or they just have fail editorial staff and made an honest "mistake").

That said, is the car "dead"? From what we've seen previously (GasDoc for example), that is definitely not "known" from the photos that are shown in the article.
They included zero information on anything. They just included a picture, and a bunch of speculation.
 

brianman

Burrito Founder
Nov 10, 2011
17,615
3,216
They included zero information on anything. They just included a picture, and a bunch of speculation.
Point of clarification: I used the word "troubling" not "surprising". It's Jalopnik, so this behavior isn't at all surprising to me.
 

Grendal

SpaceX Moderator
Jan 31, 2012
6,081
7,754
Santa Fe, New Mexico
I think the pictures make it very clear that the fire had nothing to do with the battery pack. The firefighter sprayed the car down and put out the fire. Lithium and water, as some of the comments are trying to imply, had no effect in this fire.

It certainly looks like it was a serious accident.
 

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