Model S fire?

Model S fire?

Appears to have been in an accident. Wonder what caught fire. Something flammable in the frunk?

bradslee | 3 oktober 2013

At this time, we do not know what really caused the fire. Before the truth is revealed, this fire incident would be undoubtedly used by all Tesla haters or shorts to celebrate their curse upon Tesla. I would not even be surprised that some extreme character at some point of time will copycat a similar event to substantiate the curse upon Tesla.

Yet, history will show that we the MS owners would have the final (and perpetual) Tesla grin.

mclary | 3 oktober 2013

No one has answered the question....What was in the Frunk?

Chunky Jr. | 3 oktober 2013

If the cause of the fire was an accident as it appears to be (running over a metal object), then I'm impressed that it alerted the driver and the driver was able to escape with no injuries.

What would be a nightmare is if it spontaneously combusted like the Fisker Karma. That clearly isn't the case here.

This seems like a total fluke.

gill_sans | 3 oktober 2013

This October 3 article in Green Car Reports has the official Tesla statement in its first few paragraphs:

It includes a 30-second video of what looks like a black Model S parked on the corner of two rural roads, on fire. The flames look pretty substantial and a firefighter is seen walking up with a hose about to douse it. The street's wet, looks like it was raining.

AJMitch_85 | 3 oktober 2013

This to me is all the sane and non-emotional reasoning I need to buying and keep buying Tesla stock and options.

Stop and think about it - what fundamentally has changed? Nothing. Tesla is selling everything it can produce. They're making profits. 6000 Model X's are pre-sold. Tesla is reinvesting to develop the recharging grid. As for profits - I would not be as utterly concerned about making profits in the short-term, but would rather reinvest back into the company to improve production, product development, safety and efficiency.

To panic sell is silly based on an accident. It's over reactionary. Don't look now but look at how many non-Tesla cars are in fiery accidents everyday.

DEUTSCHE BANK ON TESLA FIRE: This 'Had To Happen At Some Point'
MATTHEW BOESLER OCT. 3, 2013, 7:26 AM 8,699 14

Yesterday, Tesla shares fell 6.2% — in part because of an analyst's downgrade, but also perhaps in part because of a fiery car crash that raised concerns over the safety of the electric vehicle's lithium-ion battery.

In a note to clients (titled "Had to happen at some point; no change to the thesis"), Deutsche Bank analysts led by Dan Galves argue that this was inevitable.

"We expect that negative news flow and investor concern over the impact to demand of this incident will put negative pressure on the stock in the near-term," write the Deutsche Bank analysts. "And these are meaningful concerns, as this is a new technology and one in which sensitivity to safety risk is very high."

However, the Deutsche Bank team also offers a few reasons why damage to investor perceptions of Tesla vehicles' safety should be mitigated:

After 83 million miles of Model S driving, 12 significant accidents, and extreme crash-testing by U.S. Safety regulators, this is the first fire in a Tesla vehicle. Although more details are needed on the exact reasons behind this incident, and it would certainly be best to completely eliminate the chance of a fire, Tesla believes that the frequency in which an accident propagates a fire is similar in an internal combustion vehicle.

The fire resulted from a collision. If this had been a spontaneous incident with no catalyst (i.e. in someone’s garage), the impact would be significantly worse. This was not an explosion. The fire started gradually and the vehicle performed as designed in terms of protecting the driver and providing ample warning.

Tesla’s ability to monitor the vehicle systems remotely will enable a detailed report on the root cause of the incident. We believe that the company will and should provide as much information as possible.

"This incident does not change our positive thesis on the company or the stock," concludes Galves. "Given significant Roadster and Model S experience (6 years, tens of millions of miles driven) without a fire, we have confidence that this is an isolated incident that could happen to any vehicle."

Deutsche Bank has a buy rating on the stock and a price target of $200.

wcalvin | 3 oktober 2013

I wonder if they have thought to use explosive-bolt type of tech to break up the 400 volt battery strings when a fire starts?

Maybe spring-loaded punch held open by temp-sensitive material, fire causes it to punch through heavy wire, carrying section down into a well, with nonconductive material just above steel punch so as not to short across.

EVMD | 3 oktober 2013

Yesterday I saw a BMW 335i convertible fire in I95 Maryland, no accident happened that I could see. I wondering if the stocks of BMW are down? In fact I just bought more shares at the new low TSLA.

Longhorn92 | 3 oktober 2013
EVMD | 3 oktober 2013

Can someone tell me where to buy a car with

Gas tank
Diesel Tank
Hydrogen tank
Propane gas tank
Fuel cell


justineet | 3 oktober 2013

I don't know what kind of materials that may be used to harden the casing of the battery pack...perhaps that is another option to look into to protect the battery from high speed impact rapture.

bronto | 3 oktober 2013

We've all seen the "unintended acceleration" pictures with one where the MS jumped a curb and landed on a retaining wall. One would think that would really rupture the battery! Where were the fires in those incidents? It's hard to imagine that running over a metal object would cause this to happen but landing on a retaining wall would do nothing...just sayin'

Whity Whiteman | 3 oktober 2013

my stormage says "fake" in the one or in the other way...either video is fake or the source of fire... could be burning wheels or something in the frunk. Hopefully tesla/elon is working on feedback. It can't be coincidence, that it happens now! Stockprice, Marketcap... reviews of the S... Crashtests--everything perfect + ... and then this--- video has no credible source, there is no interview with the owner of the car... tesla must be in contact with this guy. There should be an update today..
it's damn hot out there

GDH | 3 oktober 2013

Cow catcher lmao.

carlk | 3 oktober 2013

After this all die down and people start to rationalize the whole thing Tesla stock will go back to 190~200 level in a couple weeks.

justineet | 3 oktober 2013

Spontaneous combustion is unlikely given the long history of Roadster with no such incident.

AmpedRealtor | 3 oktober 2013

Otherwise harmless rubber tire debris on the runway - when it was kicked up during takeoff - brought down the Concorde after puncturing the underside of one of its jet engines. The littlest thing, if it hits the right spot, can cause tremendous damage and result in unforeseen consequences. No design is foolproof. If this accident revealed an achilles heal to the Model S that the designers had not anticipated, it will be corrected to the betterment of the product.

Luclyluciano | 3 oktober 2013

Good thing the driver was not rendered unconscious inside and die from smoke inhalation. Can you imagine the media?

Hopefully for the company this does not happen again in the near future.

L8MDL | 3 oktober 2013

Amped - we all know what happened to the Concorde following the crash. TSLA @ 170 and holding.

TikiMan | 3 oktober 2013

Seems to me much of this fear-mongering comes from the demise of Fisker, and their issues with spontaneous combustion, which turned out to be the last nail in the coffin for the company. When I mention my Tesla to many folks, they still get Fisker and Tesla confused, because of many factors. In-fact, I recently told a older gentleman about my MS, and he said... "No way I am buying one of those, they explode, and screwed the government". (of course I had to educate him that he was thinking of Fisker, and not Tesla). He still swore it was Tesla that was the bad one, but after a fairly long conversation about it (and the fact that I am a resident expert on the subject), he finally agreed ('m sure Mitt's senior moment in the presidential debates didn't help either).

Regardless, the VERY fact that the fire was the likely result of the MS hitting something that perforated the battery compartment, is very telling. Never mind, there is a video on YouTube of a Tesla Roadster on fire, which I never heard an explanation for, just goes to show that no vehicle (including the MS) is immune from fire. Some (like the MS) might be FAR safer, than others, however, if somehow the general public were under some assumption that the MS was indestructible, well, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

With regard to the stock: I am not sure how much of this is related to the government shutdown, the fire, or the speculators that have been telling everyone that TSLA is overvalued (it didn't help when Elon even admitted that it was overvalued). Either way, for as many friends that Tesla has out there, they have even more enemies that would love nothing more than to see Tesla go down in flames (let's face it, oil companies are very powerful and evil).

For now, I am going to stick with the old saying... "This too shall pass".

carlk | 3 oktober 2013

Wasn't Honda Accord one of the best selling cars in US?

AmpedRealtor | 3 oktober 2013

@ L8MDL - The Concorde crash was just one of several reasons. The airliner was ultimately retired for low passenger numbers following the 7/25/00 crash, the slump in air travel following 9/11, and rising maintenance costs. I don't see the same happening to Tesla, as the dynamics are totally different.

Larry.skywesy | 3 oktober 2013

Ok, I can't stand this. Things will happen, look at Dick Van Dykes brand new Jaguar that caught fire and he had to be helped from the vehicle. The Jaguar burnt to the ground.
I guess that is the end of Jaguar's...? Of course not. I am a prospective buyer and have been watching this company grow and still a big believer in Tesla, their concept and Elon Musk and his team. See ya at a supercharger shortly.

Brit.l.T | 3 oktober 2013

So when I dropped off my Model S for service my husband was talking to one of the technicians who said that the object that the car struck was lodged in the under part and dragged for a while, which then ignited. He mentioned something about magnesium but my husband wasn't interested in retaining the information (DARN IT!). From the technician (yes, this is gossip. I understand) he said that the battery never case was never compromised despite what was said above (not sure what to believe on that).The said would have happened to any car that hit that object, however the damage to the car was limited to the front which is not common in these circumstances.

Take this info as you will. Just passing what they said to him along.

gooshjkc | 3 oktober 2013

In my opinion, we all can talk about what happened and what's going to happen to Tesla and Model S, but we have to wait and see what the finding turns out to be. Plus, I'm not just talking about Tesla's findings (they will need to do this and post it quickly because if anything the media loves bad news). I'm talking about other findings. Many outside this forum will dismiss Tesla's findings. Whatever the case, I just hope the fire didn't start in the battery, because that will be a big problem. If it started else where, Tesla will be vindicated and everyone will move on.

AmpedRealtor | 3 oktober 2013

NHTSA cannot investigate due to the government shutdown, so Tesla's findings may be the last word on this subject. I don't think a local fire department is equipped to investigate something like this.

SMinnihan | 3 oktober 2013

Won't know anything definitive until NHTSA finishes their investigation (which won't start until the government shutdown ends).

EVMD | 3 oktober 2013

Check this out Consumers Report speak about the incident .

flyfr8 | 3 oktober 2013

a battery fire...... how about installing a fire extinguishing system the one similar to jet aircraft.
this kind of raging inferno is preventable even if the battery is compromised

TikiMan | 3 oktober 2013

I little prospective is in order...

If my $2.6 MILLION dollar vehicle went up in flames in a crash, heads would roll!!!!

PatT | 3 oktober 2013

One thing that is clear from the video is that at the time it was taken, the majority of the fuel for the fire is coming from the wheel wells and would therefore be the tires burning. That fuel could presumably even contribute to the fire that appears to be coming from the pavement in front of the car if the tires had partially melted.

Another interesting point is that there is a significant amount of magnesium located in the front of the Model S. During a recent repair to the cooling air inlets on my car, I noticed a pair of heavy duty cast frames that hold the air conditioning heat exchangers. I assumed that they were aluminum but the ranger said that they were mag. While magnesium can produce an intense fire that is difficult to extinguish, it would be very difficult to ignite. Also, I see no evidence that the fire shown in the video is from magnesium. If it were there would be a very brilliant white light and lots of white smoke. The smoke is black and obviously from the burning tires.

I certainly don't see any reason to suspect the lithium batteries as being the fuel for this fire. However they certainly contain enough energy to start the fire either through some kind of mechanical break down of the battery or from a short in the wiring. It will be interesting to see what Tesla Motors figures out regarding this incident. For now I see it as a opportunity to by TSLA at a discount.

Longhorn92 | 3 oktober 2013

Tesla has already admitted that the fire started in the battery pack.

AmpedRealtor | 3 oktober 2013

@ flyfr8 - raging inferno? What story did you read? LOL

mna123 | 3 oktober 2013

I hope insurance prices does not go up in case of such fires.

wbrown01 | 3 oktober 2013

The owner of that S should save us all and come to the Forum and give us some facts. This community should be first to get this info or TM not the NY Times. He must know we are all waiting.....

MichaelN | 3 oktober 2013

In reading the newspaper report it says that the fire department lifted the car up and tried to cut through the battery bottom plate and "could not do so"(and they have some pretty awesome and destructive tools), so they had to cut in through the frunk - my interpretation is that whatever the S hit , it did not puncture the battery pack from below and so must have experienced some very unusual battery pack penetration, but from where - perhaps it hit the object, rolled it up through the frunk and then it penetrated the battery pack from above - only time and further investigation will reveal the details, and you can bet that Tesla is all over it, and will offer a full report - for me, I still feel safest when driving the Model S -

mrspaghetti | 3 oktober 2013

I'm not necessarily accepting that the fire started in the battery at this point based solely on a line in a news article (often wrong) reporting something ostensibly said by an un-named Tesla spokesman, who may or may not exist, and may or may not have all the facts if he does. And may or may not be an official spokesman.

It's just too soon to really "know" anything.

Longhorn92 | 3 oktober 2013

@mrsspaghetti - Tesla supposedly reached out to TMC with the same quote:

I think it is legitimate.

AmpedRealtor | 3 oktober 2013

The object that was struck probably punctured one or more brake fluid lines. The loss of brake fluid pressure signaled a warning for the driver to pull over because this is a dangerous condition requiring immediate action. Whatever item underneath the car, if metal, would have created sparks that could easily have ignited the brake fluid. It's just a matter of moments before the tires start burning, frunk compartment catches, and before you know it the metal cage around the traction battery becomes a massive heat conductor pushing heat into the main battery pack. If you throw enough heat at something, it will burn.

mrspaghetti | 3 oktober 2013

Ok, I'll buy that the quote is legit, but not that it's necessarily entirely correct info. Hard to imagine they could know much yet.

Longhorn92 | 3 oktober 2013

Fair enough, but I strongly doubt that Tesla would say it started in the battery if they weren't pretty darn sure.

Bighorn | 3 oktober 2013

Sounds very much like a Disco Inferno circa 1976.

amirm | 3 oktober 2013

Apparently there are 100K+ car fires annually in the US and based on "fire incident per miles driven" Model S is 10 time less prone to fire than ICE cars. The issue is a PR issue due to perception.....

sagebrushnw | 3 oktober 2013

@ gill_sans

This happened in the Seattle metro area (Kent, WA) just off the south bound 167 freeway
exit ramp to Kent - Des Moines Road, right in the middle of the city of Kent. Took fire department three minutes to get there.

See also:

Velo1 | 3 oktober 2013

@mna123 or nnt - I hope your Prius doesn't have any uncontrollable acceleration. Toyota paid close to $1B in settlements for that one.

EVMD | 3 oktober 2013

Tikiman- great +1 I wondering if Ferrari stocks are down?

thranx | 3 oktober 2013

From Fox News: "At 2:46 pm today a Tesla model S electric sedan traveling between Quartzite and Yuma, Arizona, was completely destroyed when it was accidentally targeted by an A-10 Warthog on training mission on the Barry Goldwater Firing Range. Several rockets and multiple rounds of cannon fire hit the Tesla, which informed its two dazed occupants to pull over to the side of the road and exit the vehicle. This they promptly did while the car caught fire and burned. It was subsequently towed to the nearest Tesla service center, where necessary repairs were reported to be extensive.

"Fox presumes the fire started in the battery compartment."

Bubba2000 | 3 oktober 2013

Model S underside got a sturdy Al plate. To puncture it an object with sharp hard edges would have to slide underneath. The velocity of the car plus the weight on the share object could cause the Al plate to be penetrated.

If that is the case, Tesla could replace the Al plate with something that is more resistant. Like Titanium alloy armor plate - expensive! Another option would be Al-ceramic-Kevlar sandwich... it would increase cost marginally. A cheaper solution would be a hardened Stainless Steel plate... just add a few pounds. It would be like a skid plate on a off road vehicle.

I am sure the folks at SpaceX can come up with a solution.

mrspaghetti | 3 oktober 2013

@thranx - lol

mrspaghetti | 3 oktober 2013


The obvious advantage of titanium is that Elon keeps plenty on hand for his suits.