Tesla Model X Hits Tree, Splits In Two, Catches Fire


High rate of speed suspected.

Fire erupted after a Tesla Model X collided with a tree and split in two.

Three teenagers were seriously injured in the wreck. One sustained life-threatening injuries. No fatalities reported.

A 2017 Tesla Model X was driven off the road where it struck a tree. The violent collision split the car in two. Fire began shortly after impact, as the battery pack had been compromised.

Clean up of the wreckage is reportedly still underway, as battery cells were spread throughout the brush.

News Times reports:

Three teenagers were injured after one drove a 2017 Tesla Model X off the road and into a tree in southern New Hampshire on Wednesday, according to state police.

Speed was likely a factor in the accident, according to the accident report, and the car split in two and caught fire after the impact.

The driver and one passenger were taken to a community hospital with “serious but non-life threatening injuries,” while the third passenger was taken to the UMass hospital in Worcester with life-threatening injuries.

Developing story…

Source: News Times

Categories: Crashed EVs, Tesla

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121 Comments on "Tesla Model X Hits Tree, Splits In Two, Catches Fire"

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“speed was likely a factor” – there’s the understatement of the week…!

Are you implying it’s not normal to drive Mach 12 into a tree?

Let me ask my friend Sonny.

What’s amazing is they survived ,rescue workers said, normally such a crash would result in fatalities,the new model 3 has got 5 star safety rating

Agreed! “Compromised” should read “shorted”.

Teens + Teslas = why

I wonder if the driver is going to be grounded for this.

all 3 kids are alive.
Because they were in a tesla. Simple as that.
Any other car and we would know nothing about their burials.

It is, “teenagers and speeding” is the more likely combination.

Around here we call it jumping trees or telephone poles, either way, you loose.

Ha, those have long been known to us R/C plane pilots. A deadly menace.

Sorry to see that. I think maybe Tesla needs a nanny mode.
Some sort of lock out that puts it in chill mode and top speed limited, some people aren’t competent enough to
be allowed to drive this powerful machine.
I blame the parents.

The parents are (from what I’m told) able to do this, thanks to Tesla. That they didn’t is something they will have to accept responsibility for.

there is a valet mode were you can limit the top speed

Blame the parents? They aren’t the ones who chose to engage in reckless driving. Also, the average teenager would be more likely to be able to disable any “nanny” mode in the car than his or her parent would be likely to know how to enable it.

People in our culture are not considered to be fully responsible for their actions until they are 21, but if someone has a license to drive, then that privilege comes with an expectation of driving responsibly. It seems pretty obvious that this accident was a result of not merely irresponsible driving, but outright reckless driving.

Some people seem to have a mental block about “blaming the victim” even when the victim’s own irresponsible or reckless behavior is the cause of what happened to them.

Personally, I have no problem with “blaming the victim” when the victim is the one who is to blame.

Completely disagree . Parents are responsible for their underage kids. Period.

IMO, parents who allow their teenagers to drive a fully-enabled (not limited in any way) Tesla are at least partially reckless here. The parents should have enabled Valet Mode and/or set the maximum speed (and not give the kids access to the Tesla app/password). Really, none of this is rocket science. I don’t buy the whole “oh, poor parents, too dumb to figure the technology” excuse.

Or, better yet, not have allowed inexperienced “invincible” teenage drivers to get behind the wheel of such a powerful car in the first place.

I blame the kids too. But, the parents are the first to blame here.

The parents are “responsible” for the decisions of a 16 yr old driver? In la-la land maybe.

Geez, what land do you live in?

Yes, parents ARE responsible for their children, especially if they give them access to a car. I’m not saying that parents can control what their children do, but they are ultimately responsible for what they do.

To be clear, I am NOT saying the kids are blameless — they are “young adults” who should have known MUCH better — but ULTIMATELY the parents are to blame here; either for buying the kids the car, loaning them the car, or just being careless enough with the keys to allow access the car, let alone to have not instilled enough common sense into their idiot offspring to not drive 100 MPH and slam into a tree!

Any parents who have created a kid stupid enough to behave this way, yes, bears a very large responsibility for whatever outcome results from their terrible job at parenting.

There were no 16-yr old people mentioned in the article. A 19-yr-old is no longer a child. Unless the parents didn’t teach her to be a responsible adult.

Driver was 17! Not 19.

The driver was 17. The passengers were 17 & 19

Yes for letting them drive a high performance car.

Dead on. If you can’t figure out how to put a Tesla into Valet / Prius mode before letting your teenager drive it, you shouldn’t trust the kid. Teens pressure each other. They do have an illusion of invincibility. They watch movies and emulate what they see. They play Mario Kart.

If it were me, I would sit Johnny down with some math problems to solve for stopping distance, then a few more with icy roads and night driving and response time. If you can’t do the math, you are not prepared.

I still feel bad for all the kids. However, this is natural selection. Some children die of malnutrition, disease, and war. This just thins out the 1%.

Here here push. Some Americans don’t want to take personal responsibility and place blame on others

it is not Americans, but ppl. This happens ALL over the world.

I agree. But parents should at least try. But we don’t know what they have or have not done in this case.

If the parrent gave permission to drive a 400 – 500 hp car to teenagers then they share the blame.

i do believe they took the car without permission,then pretty sure, wanted to show off how fast it could go

Yeah I can’t wait to buy a Bugatti Chiron to my teen, I am so smart and generous parent.

This mode already exists. You can do both a valet mode, as well as a top speed limit mode even directly from the app. As far as I know it’s still the only car that has this capability.

Top trim version of the Pacifica has a “KeySense” fob. You can limit the top speed, and disable the radio unless the seatbelts are fastened. It has some other safety settings too.

Lexus will text you if speed, distance or curfew is exceeded for various preset drivers!

Sounds like there are safety features from all the above cars that should be in all electric cars.

Those features are pretty common in most cars now I believe. You can definitely do the same on some Fords too.

Teslas are well known for handling issues as these cars are not designed for taking turns at high speeds, they are engineered for straight line driving when it comes to performance so if and it’s what it looks like, is they tried to turn too fast .

Tesla cars run great at the track so handling issues aren’t the problem here.

Your kidding right?
Teslas are well known for excellent cornering and overall handling due to the very low center of gravity just for starters, do your homework before comenting cause what you said was just nonsense.

“known” where? short seller central? Most reviewers and drivers will tell you how great the handling is.

You do not know what you are talking about.

Any car will veer off if driven too fast around a curve. What is wrong with you??

You may want to test drive one before commenting on performance. Mine drives like it’s on rails.

‘Speed limit mode’ exist. Below from my phone app just now.

This certainly helps the parents of the kids that wrecked the Tesla above, doesn’t it?

But it would have helped them and their kids.
You know, that RTFM stuff.

There is no sane reason for any car (other than law enforcement and emergency vehicles) to have a top speed more than 20 % above the legal speed limit. Also no reason for acceleration greater than a third of gravity. If all cars were limited to 90 mph and 0-40 mph in 5 seconds a lot of these kids would live.

Interestingly, not a single government agrees with you (that I know of). Not necessarily disagreeing but those kind of limits aren’t going to happen.
I would never agree with 0-40 in 5 seconds. That is crazy. Can I politely ask you to get out of my way?

Ler us start with a decent training for getting a drivers license.
From what I have seen over the years US drivers training and certification is a sad joke.
Here we have mandatory trainings even after the final test, including Skid training, heavy breaking on mixed, wet surfaces, stuff like thta..

Comparing what my Mom and I had to do in Ontario to what I see in Miami Florida I am forced to agree with you.

Biggest problem is what is the Top Speed?

Here in Ontario it is 100 KMH or 60 MPH, but the moment I cross the US border it becomes 70 MPH and a few place I have been it is 75 MPH. Plus there have been people posting that say 80 MPH is the speed limit in their part of the US.

So which limit? 120% * 80 MPH = 96 MPH!

Older Ford F-150’s are in fact limited to 96mph, although it appears newer ones are now limited to 100. Either way that’s plenty for road usage in any car.

Obviously a limiter would be annoying for those that want to track or use a vehicle at higher speeds on private propertly, which is probably why it’s not a legal requirement.

Great idea, also a Valet mode, when we go to dinner a know those pluckers are doing burn outs in my car

Both modes are already available in the Teslas. So what do you mean?

We can limit top speed esp on our phones.
Hopefully, tesla will create a kid mode in which top speed is limited to say 5-10 miles over the speed limit.

Are you a victim when you do it to yourself?

I’m sure the parents of the passengers in the car will consider their kids to be victims, even though the kids did contribute to causing their own injuries by choosing to stay in the car with a reckless driver.

Parrent are responsible for their children’s actions.

Both perpetrator and victim… 😉

Tesla cars can protect you from a lot of things.

Choosing to stay in the car with a reckless driver, sadly, isn’t one of those things. Neither is teenagers acting like they are immortal.

The first word of your post is unnecessary.

It’s highly unlikely those kids would be alive today if they hadn’t been in a Model X. Denying that fact is denying reality.

What you are saying is not a fact but just your supposition.

Tesla cars are great on a safety level but a lot of cars especially around the same prices are great too.

You can’t say that unless you take another vehicle and crash it in identical circumstances, with identical passengers, at an identical speed hitting the same tree/trees. A safe car is only half the story, the rest is down to pure luck.

What are they supposed to do, jump out??

Don’t buy your teenage children $100k high performance cars. It’s a disaster waiting to happen. Glad I didn’t have rich parents that could buy me a car like that when I was 17.

Teens are perfectly able to kill themselves in cheap, low powered cars. I didn’t, but it wasn’t due to a lack of effort.

Chances are they all would be dead in a cheaper everyone’s car. Pretty much any car in US can reach over 100 mph

Get em a clown car Bolt or Leaf instead. 😉

Idiot comment bro, idiot comment should not happen either!

Bunch of teenagers hualin’ ass in daddy’s car…what could go wrong.

And I bet they did it in the horse and buggy era too.

Movies will become more realistic when all the cars burst in flames :).

Always was the case for 100 years now, but it’s just boring to cover them until recently, techno-phobia has a way of amplifying mundane statistics.

True. Perspective is mostly absent from reporting today.

In the movies if a car goes over a cliff it explodes, if a train goes over a cliff it explodes, I even saw a plane do a crash landing and then slid over a cliff and explode in a movie.

Yet, not once have I seen a horse in a movie go over a cliff and explode.

The movies clearly are basis-ed.

The real news here is that the passengers have survived a significant crash.

Yeah. Wicked blizzard where I’m at. My high schooler has a 4wd Subaru Baja and I told him to stay where he’s at. Morning and daylight will be safer. Splitting it in two around a pole is not necessary tonight. I’ve seen crash test videos of modern cars. How fast does one need to be driving to split any vehicle much less a Tesla in half. Hope those kids learn something.

It is likely that the Tesla Model S and X vehicles will be the last of the EV’s where battery pack thermal runaway events (TRE’s – AKA “fires”) will be a common outcome in a violent crash. These packs are 2012 vintage designs. Battery pack design technology has radically-changed since then. The Model 3 body and battery pack housing and pack modules are far more resilient, with more high strength steel in key areas. Each module is filled to the brim with a sil-gel between every cell that helps structurally, mechanically cushions impacts, and dampens extreme heat transfer mechanisms between cells if a few cells are compromised and go into TRE. Also, the new generation of BEVs, including the IPace, e-tron, Taycan, have a totally different architecture that breaks the pack into many, many sealed modules that are essentially bullet-proof, are tucked into a massive skateboard crash-structure, and if there is a module TRE, it is self-contained to just a few cells.

Interesting. Have their been any violent model 3 crashes yet to test this in real life?

We will see when Taycans start getting this kind of damage.
Tesla also has a lot of fire mitigating technology in the batteries, but like a gas tank, there is only so much you can do.

Bullet-proof? This is one of the stupidest comments.

Yeah, people just get way too excited writing these articles, haha!

HVACman the thing that makes your statement ‘revisionist’ is that – years ago it would be HERESY to say that Model S or X’s catch fire due to battery trauma – excuse me – greatly increasing destructive temperature events -HAHAHA!

Now it is apparently ok for the fanboys to say “OLD FASHIONED Teslas may occasionally catch fire”, but modern cars won’t do this.

My 2011 volt very early on (in 2011 in fact) had something to make it, to use your wording – ‘Bulletproof’. That was prior to any “S” or “X” ever being released. IN fact, the only volt that caught fire was one that didn’t have the proscribed discharge procedure applied to it.

Anyone else see the pattern here: teenagers and performance vehicles aren’t a good combination?

The IQ of a teen driver = IQ when driving alone / number of teens in the car.

I know this story mentions no fatalities, but I wonder if there’s any data to show that there’s some slew of fatalities with Tesla vehicles because, to put it bluntly, you have to be in a truly insane collision to die in a Tesla – whereas the spread of fatalities with other vehicles may be much wider.

Damn… Is the tree going to be OK?

I doubt it… The fire photo was fun to look at – glad they included it here.

Likely a gasoline car would have caught fire, seen those its really horrible. Diesel car not quite as flammable.

I guess I will hang on to my hybrid.

The car did really well then. If they are still alive!

What headline should say…

“Parents give teenagers 700hp car, kids survive ensuing crash because it was a Tesla.”

If it was an ICE vehicle cut in two it simply would have exploded instantly instead of taking time to catch on fire.

Every 3 minutes someone dies in a car accident in the USA. The fact that everyone survived this crash is a testament to how well the Model x is built. If they had been in another car they probably would be dead and it wouldn’t be news just like the other 101 people that died today in crashes that we have no idea about.

2nd Model X splits after a high speed crash in less than 1 year…

We need to increase the crash test speed of those pole test!


They need to do a “lazy mode” for teenagers. Acceleration should be much slower (like 8-9 seconds) and top speed max 80 mph.
Giving a car with such acceleration to kids is at least irresponsible.

It is called Chill but the max speed setting is separate. Valet mode is the other option where you get limited acceleration and limited speed (70). But with valet you also lose some personal settings – like nav locations to home.

Valet mode is settable in the App so even if your kids weren’t supposed to borrow the car and you found out they were, you can enable it from a distance.

You can of course watch the speed your teen is driving from a distance (on the app) and know their location.

Doesn’t mean every parent chooses to do this. I see parents let kids drive fast cars all the time with no limits. Not really sure where that comes from? Did they make perfect decisions when they were teens? Do they not know that the number 1 cause of death for a teen is driving?

I keep hoping by 8 year old will never drive or be with a teen driver but it isn’t looking promising….

Tesla should add a “teen driver mode.” Limit HP/lb to 0.05, limit top speed to 70, limit max radio volume, extra nagging for driver attentiveness, and a weekly driving report highlighting any risky bahvaior emailed to mom and dad. I think I’ll go tweet Elon.

It’s already included

How so? I see a valet mode (which disables auto-pilot and the frunk) and a max speed limit mode (which AKAIK has no effect on acceleration nor does it use geolocation to determine the local speed limit). Neither of these are really ideal for teen drivers. Ideally teen driver mode would be tied to the PIN you enter on the touchscreen, and wouldn’t let you go 70 in a school zone or accelerate 0-60 in three seconds, but it would let you use autopilot and the frunk.

Maybe Tesla should include a testosterone bio-check of the driver and limit top speed and power inversely proportional.

It all starts with a decent way to learn young people how to drive a car correctly. If I’m not mistaken, in the USA, its possible for a parent to ‘teach’ your child how to drive and then, after driving around the block, you got your license. Over here, that kind of nonsense is impossible, Secondly, I think 16 or 17 is way to young for people to drive a car. Even at the age of 21 a lot of youngsters are not able to make good jugdement or think logically, or to estimate potential dangers when driving.
Letting your young child drive your Telsa or other car with so much potential is like asking for trouble. If speeding caused this accident, Tesla is not to blame.

Yesterday, I saw a brand new Mercedes-Benz A class burned down to the ground along the highway without any other visual damage.
No clickbait article in european press, nowhere..

They still need to take a driving tests, and if they follow the rules of the road they will past. The problem with just anyone teaching they, they may not not learn the reasons why the rules exist and why they should keep to them.

So to often, they learn what is needed to drive properly, past the tests, get a licence, then forget anything that interfere with doing fun things.

…and there were no fatalities. Incredible!

Pure luck really.

Yeah, the luck of being stupid in a Model X.

Who are these people who let their teenagers drive these things?

Parents that love the fact that kids are still alive.

The tree has retained a law firm in this matter.

Who gives a Tesla to a teenager?, testosterone and lithium don’t mix to put a new spin on an old adage. The right car for a teenager is a Prius because it’s so sluggish. Teenage boys are going to speed, it’s a biological fact. I’m sure lot’s of Roman teenagers wrapped their chariots around trees. Giving a car like a Tesla to a teenager is just asking for trouble.

1st gen LEAF would be a good teen car. Slow and only 100 miles of range.

Ron Swanson's Mustache

Out of sheer curiosity, how long does such a fire take to get started, on average?

If there’s a thermal runaway, would you have at least a couple of minutes to get yourself and any passengers (especially kids in a car seat) out, or does the whole thing go up in a matter of less than a minute?

Historically, you have time (at least in a Tesla). It somewhat depends on the nature of the cause. A crash like this, where the pack is torn open, it might combust more quickly.

In other news,,,,, any other car would have killed them, also, if you dont want them i will go and pick up those cells.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

They’re gone. They ran away.

Some rich kid is in big trouble. Is the tree OK?

Every Tesla that crashes seems to burst into flames. I would not call these cars safe.

This post seems to be bursting into being idiotic.

That is not politically correct. But point taken.

Lemme guess, they were never spanked as toddlers.

Nina Colasanto, 19, of New Ipswich has died from the injuries she sustained in a car accident last month. “She’s no longer suffering, she’s not in pain, there’s no more tears for her,” said Jordan Moody, pastor of Hope Fellowship Church in Jaffrey that Colasanto attended. Moody announced Colasanto’s death on Sunday during a Facebook livestream prayer service held due to the snow storm. Colasanto’s mother, Christina Bassett, declined to comment when reached Monday. She asked people to respect her family’s privacy at this time. Colasanto was a passenger in a Tesla sports car that hit a tree, split in half and exploded. She underwent multiple surgeries since the Dec. 26 crash due to burns, broken bones, and lung problems, Moody said. She died Saturday during surgery at U-Mass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Mass. The Tesla Model X she was a passenger in was being driven east on Perry Road in Rindge by Travis Olson, 17, of Rindge, when he drove it off the road, crashing into a tree. Olson, and another passenger, Chelsea Holombo, 17, of New Ipswich, were taken to Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough with non-life-threatening injuries. Colasanto was trapped in the burning wreck when Perry… Read more »