Tesla Now in Possession of Fiery Model S; Investigation Underway

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 10

Model S Fire

Model S Fire

Tesla Motors now has in its possession one singed Model S.

Model S Not on Fire

Model S Not on Fire

WIRED has confirmed that the Model S that was engulfed in flames on Tuesday is now at one of Tesla Motors’ facilities.  Most likely it’s at Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California.

Tesla is already “studying what happened” to The Model S, according to Tesla spokeswoman Elizabeth Jarvis-Shean.

Tesla issued its official statement on the Model S fire on Friday, but that doesn’t mean it’s case closed.

Tesla will now closely inspect the damaged Model S and we do believe a “findings” report will be released at some point in time.

What’s been widely missed in the vast amount of reports on the Model S fire is that the vehicle’s on-board systems may well have prevented injury or even saved the driver’s life.

The driver was alerted of a fault in the Model S by the vehicle’s systems.  He then pulled over and safely exited the Model S prior to the start of the fire.

It’s obvious from this that the thermal event within the battery pack was well controlled (likely by that gel/foam Tesla employs to control such events).  The thermal event occurred well before flames emerged, showing us that the Model S, at least in this instance, provided the driver with ample time to exit the vehicle.  In fact, the driver had enough time to exit the freeway, pull to the end of the off ramp and step out of the Model S before the fire flared up.

The same often does not hold true when it comes to gasoline vehicles, as there’s not a similar warning system in place in ICE vehicles.  Additionally, there’s often only a few seconds of time before the vehicle is engulfed in flames after a source of ignition reaches the fuel tank.

Source: WIRED

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10 responses to "Tesla Now in Possession of Fiery Model S; Investigation Underway"

  1. alainl007 says:

    Hello,

    On the picture, what is he waiting to stop the flames?
    He hesitates between a barbecue and stop the flames or what?
    Or he knows, he’ve time, there is no risk, this is not a petrol car!!!!

    Good road with EV.

    1. DonH says:

      Flat hose, no water. Picture taken just before pressure came up no doubt. Ironic that so much attention is paid to this one incident when so many gas powered cars are catching fire everyday with much more serious consequences. Just last year out here in Hawaii we had a young police officer rear-ended on the highway while he was stopped helping someone and was burned to death before he could exit the vehicle. His cruiser was the infamous Ford Crown Vic noted for burning in multiples cases across the country, but the car is still around. Right after this tragedy, Honolulu bought virtually all new cars of a different model. Spent a good deal of my twenty year career as a firefighter putting out car fires none of which were electric.

  2. Mark H says:

    Great point on the the time given to exit the vehicle. Have been out of communication for several days, do we know what the metal object was?

    1. George B says:

      I believe that it was a crossbar from a semi truck.

    2. GeorgeS says:

      Hi Mark,
      Yes we do.
      ” A curved section that fell off a semi-trailer was recovered from the roadway near where the accident occurred and, according to the road crew that was on the scene, appears to be the culprit. The geometry of the object caused a powerful lever action as it went under the car, punching upward and impaling the Model S with a peak force on the order of 25 tons. Only a force of this magnitude would be strong enough to punch a 3 inch diameter hole through the quarter inch armor plate protecting the base of the vehicle”
      .
      http://insideevs.com/tesla-motors-issues-official-statement-on-model-s-fire/

    3. Jesse Gurr says:

      All we know for sure from the press release was that is was ” A curved section that fell off a semi-trailer”. What that curved section is, though, is anybody’s guess.

  3. Jeff N says:

    Eric Loveday writes:
    “It’s obvious from this that the thermal event within the battery pack was well controlled (likely by that gel/foam Tesla employs to control such events).”

    I assume you are referring to the “intumescent goo” that Tesla apparently has a patent on for use in battery packs? The article below says “among many innovations, Tesla appears to have incorporated a form of intumescent goo that it sprays onto the interior of the pack to aid in fireproofing.”

    http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1084682_what-goes-into-a-tesla-model-s-battery–and-what-it-may-cost

    However, Phil Sadow (an electrical engineer in Berkeley), partially disassembled and took close up photos of a Tesla Model S battery pack and found no evidence of any such material in their current pack design. In the forum post below he writes:

    “Those pictures are the ones I took. I can assure you there is no “goo” sprayed on anything except for the conformal coating on the BMS PCB’s on the end of each module. The 18650’s themselves are bare shiny metal, with about 25% of each cell in contact with a thermal pad. The stuff that looks like goo is simply the thin crinkled kapton polyimide tape (an insulator), and/or the adhesive used to keep the thermal pads in place. I saw zero evidence of any Intumescent material.”

    http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/17456-Amazing-Core-Tesla-Battery-IP-18650-Cell/page7?p=360283&viewfull=1#post360283

    1. GeorgeS says:

      Interesting.
      Thx for posting that

  4. Ryan says:

    I want to see the piece of metal that was ran over.

    1. danwat1234 says:

      Me too, and detailed pics of the damage