A brand-new Tesla Model S Plaid spontaneously burst into flames while its owner was driving it, lawyer says
The owner's lawyer told Insider that his client struggled to escape the $130,000-plus car before it turned into "a fireball."
What concerned me most about the article, after knowing that the owner is OK, thank god, is that he struggled to get the car unlocked to get out of the car.
Yes, ALL cars catch fire on very rare occasions, including gas and electric cars. That's not the point of my post.
The point is, Tesla has continued to move all controls to the screen. While that may be ok in some circumstances, in panic situations, it's HORRIBLE!
When your car is on fire, the last thing you want to do is go looking at your screen to find the unlock button or finding a push button on the door rather than feeling for a mechanical door handle you're instinctively used to using every day!! In panic situations, which this certainly qualifies, we need quick instinctive places to go for safety items, such as being able to quickly get out of the car in a panic / emergency.
I know as it is, if a car is ready to back into me, I can sometimes struggle to quickly get my had to the big horn button in the middle of the steering wheel. Now Tesla expects me to find a little touch-pad button on the side instead. Yeah, not going to happen when in a panic situation trying to save my car from getting crashed into.
Hadn't thought of the door locks being an issue until reading this article, but after re-consideration, it's an even bigger safety concern than most other things I've come up with in my own head. The same could be true if you ended up under water somehow. Or stuck on a train track with a train coming at you, or any other host of emergency / panic situations that could arise unexpectedly.
I said previously in another post, while these cars are absolutely INCREDIBLE, Elon has taken it too far too fast in his desperate hope that they will not need a driver behind the wheel. These may be appropriate whenever that day comes, apparently sometime well into the future. But, in the meantime, drivers are still required and user friendly and driver safety functions should always be "feel" items rather than "look" items. Need to be able to do certain things on instinctive feel. Not having to focus away from driving or other safety reasons to look at a screen. In many cases, requiring multiple steps to get to where you need to go for items that used to be available immediately without moving your hands or eyes.
So thankful the driver of this car was OK. And this post has nothing to do with the fire itself. Rather, just reassures my reasoning why the Model 3 wasn't for me 3 years ago and the New Model S is no longer for me either. Love my existing Model S, but these safety concerns are deal breakers for me. After 9 years in multiple Teslas, will sadly be moving on, unless something changes.
Please be safe. Use this as a reminder to know your vehicle instinctively. With as complex as the UI's are in these cars, can be difficult, but at least be sure to know all of the safety related items backwards and forwards in case of a very rare panic or emergency situation.