Official Incident Report
The Tesla Model S fire that's now headline news has taken a turn for the worse as the mainstream media just loves to jump all over any after-accident electric vehicle fire. (Video footage of Model S fire can be found here)
Model S On Fire
As the official documents now show, the Model S was driving southbound on SR 167 in the Seattle area when it collided with an undisclosed metal object. Transcripts of the 911 call confirm that the collision occurred in the HOV lane. The driver stated that the vehicle began to run poorly immediately following the impact.
The driver was not injured and managed to safely exit the vehicle prior to it becoming engulfed in flames.
The metal object appears to have punctured the front portion of the Model S battery pack.
As the official incident report shows, the fire was difficult to extinguish and it seems there's enough evidence to now definitively say that the battery pack of the Model S was the source of the fire. Tesla spokeswoman Elizabeth Jarvis-Shean has confirmed this:
" 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.”
“This was not a spontaneous event. Every indication we have at this point is that the fire was a result of the collision and the damage sustained through that.”
However, what's overlooked by most news outlets is that Tesla engineered its battery pack in a way that limits/restricts the severity of a thermal event such as this.
The Model S' battery pack contains a gel that solidifies when heated to a certain degree. This gel seems to have prevented the thermal event from reaching the rear section of the battery pack.
The mystery that we'd like answered now is what exactly is this "large metallic object" that the driver claims to have collided with? Judging by the damage to the front section of the Model S, this "large metallic object" was big...like way big.
Off we go seeking an answer...
Editor's Note: After trading off yesterday, Tesla shares seem to continue to react to this news (as well as an analyst downgrade) as it hits national airwaves. At time of press, TSLA was off about $10 at $171.00 - shares traded as high as $194.50 earlier in the week (real time quote can be found here)