Little remained of the Tesla Model S after the fire in Norway

Little remained of the Tesla Model S after the fire in Norway

After a lengthy investigation, it was proven that the recent fire that burned a Tesla Model S to the ground was caused by a short-circuit inside the distribution box in the vehicle, not the Supercharger itself.

Tesla Model S fire

Tesla Model S fire

Although statistically, there is a 1 in 2.5 million chance of this happening, Tesla was compelled to take action. The company will be applying a new over-the-air software update to assure extra safety during charging, which would help to identify any possible short-circuit.

Timeline:

  • January 1, 2016: A Model S caught fire at a Supercharger in Gjerstad, Norway. No injuries occurred. Tesla began a full investigation.
  • January 6, 2016: The Police found no charger damage or issues, but kept it offline.
  • January 14, 2016: The Accident Investigation Board Norway (AIBN) stopped the investigation since it seemed the fire was started in the vehicle.
Tesla's Norway communications manager, Even Sandvold Roland, said:

“In January, it was an isolated incident where a Model S caught fire while using a Supercharger. The cause was a short-circuit in the distribution box in the car. Superchargers were turned off immediately when the short-circuit was discovered. No one was injured in the fire. Our investigation confirmed that this was an isolated incident, but due to the damage to the car, we could not definitely identify the exact cause of the short-circuit.”

Chief engineer Jostein Ween Dig for the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning explained:

"We are confident that this is a special event. A car fire is often spectacular, but there is no reason to believe that electric cars burn more often than other cars. Statistics actually indicate that incidence of fires is lower for electric cars."

“The owner had time to run back, unplug the charger connector and remove his possessions from the car. It took several minutes before the car was ablaze. Normally an electric vehicle fire is not as explosive as it can be in a petrol car. The flames you see in the picture and video were mostly from plastic in the interior that caught fire.”

The Supercharger is back online and fully functional and the case is now considered closed.

Sources: Teslarati, Electrek, VG

Hat tip to Teng!