Forums

How the metal piece that punctured the battery was found

How the metal piece that punctured the battery was found

I loved Elon's response to the fire incident and this can ease the mind of current and future owners that Tesla Model S is a very safe car. However I am having difficulty regarding the identification of the metal piece. It says in the official report by the Regional Fire Authority of Kent, WA. "Driver stated that he hit an object in the HOV lanes of SB 167. The car started to run poorly and he pulled off the freeway. The car started to smoke and caught fire."
There is something I am not able to visualize. It happened on the freeway and I assume road crew (I am not sure who they are) did not show up until a later time, probably after the fire crew. He was driving on the HOV lane (carpool lane). How would road crew find and retrieve the metal piece without stopping traffic? There is no indication that I have read that traffic was stopped. Or was it?
Anyone know? Thanks.

Pricee2 | 4 ottobre 2013

I would like to see photos of the object and the dimensions of it. And photos of the hole in the battery pack.

Great response by Tesla by the way.

Thomas N. | 4 ottobre 2013

I think it was found on a grassy knoll. It was near a book suppository.

ausdma | 4 ottobre 2013

" It was near a book suppository. "

Ouch!

Thomas N. | 4 ottobre 2013

;)

Jamon | 4 ottobre 2013

I assumed it stuck under the car after the impaling.

TikiMan | 4 ottobre 2013

Easy, they bring in a few CHP officers to slow down, and temporarily stop traffic, pickup the projectile, and move on. I have seen it happen many times on major freeways in Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, one of the worst things about driving in the HOV lane is; if something is in your way, chances are, you will have no choice but to hit it, or come to a complete stop.

Brit.l.T | 4 ottobre 2013

I was told it was dragged with the car.

WayneH | 4 ottobre 2013

@Brit
Here is a quote form Elon, "Earlier this week, a Model S traveling at highway speed struck a large metal object, causing significant damage to the vehicle. 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."
I am not sure how the crew got to the carpool lane without stopping the cars on the freeway and how they knew it was the piece that caused the piercing.
I just like to know these details, they are important. Elon says "appears to be the culprit."

ElectricAvenue | 4 ottobre 2013

I'm not sure that the CHP officers would want to travel a thousand miles to slow down traffic on that highway. Doesn't Washington state have a police force? :-)

Brian H | 5 ottobre 2013

WayneH;
I've seen some OCD types, but Jeez ...

mjs | 5 ottobre 2013

@ausdma
I thought a suppose-atory was a place people go to make ass-umptions.

edcalis | 5 ottobre 2013

It would be an irony had the metal object been a piece of a truck exhaust pipe or a gas tank. :)

JZ13 | 5 ottobre 2013

Conspiracy theorists doubting the facts even though the owner of the car and Tesla corroborate? Give me a break.

ausdma | 5 ottobre 2013

@mjs
Riiight. I'll have to deposit-tory that fact in my head and people that know me are clear where that lives.

WayneH | 5 ottobre 2013

Frankly, I am disappointed by some of the responders. I thought people who had enough wealth to purchase a 100,000 dollar car would be more intelligent, and less silly, and provide better responses than blame it on conspiracy. That is the easy way out. I am trained as a scientist and critical thinker. There are three questions that I am asking:

1. How was the metal piece picked up if the incident occurred in the carpool lane. (also, if it was a large piece did other cars hit it and get damaged, or not get damaged?)
2. How do we know a metal piece, if found, was the right one. Elon himself admits in his blog, the metal piece "appears to be the culprit." What if it was another piece, a smaller one, but not the one blamed.
3. How did the "road crew" know where to look if the driver drove some distance after the collision and then found an exit.

You may wish to continue with silly responses but they do not help this discussion. I think these are legitimate questions. The Model S is an amazing car and I want it to succeed. If it happened once it could happen again. With critical thinking and perhaps slight change in design this could perhaps be avoided in a future model. If it occurs one more time it could spell big trouble for the company and that would be a shame.

tmwright | 5 ottobre 2013

I understand your curiosity on this, but it really isn't that extraordinary an event. If it wasn't a Tesla, it wouldn't be worth thinking twice about. I live in the area and there are dozens of similar incidents every day. Responding to and managing accidents, including short term traffic stoppage, is so routine that I doubt anyone on the scene really paid much attention to the details. I know for a fact that investigation by local authorities is limited to death and major casualty incidents only. As frustrating as it may be, this is probably as clear as things will get in terms of the on-scene investigation.

vouteb | 5 ottobre 2013

@wayneH

Since when does money equate with intelligence?

carolinagobo | 5 ottobre 2013

Who cares, stocks up again, the best car ever and please get ready it won't be the last issue with Tesla because is a CAR and accidents happen. Please move on.

carolinagobo | 5 ottobre 2013

vouteb- +1 just look Fox rich viewers

ausdma | 5 ottobre 2013

@Wayne
I don't know what you are expecting. There is obviously nobody responding on this thread or any other related thread that knows the answers to these questions. It either was or wasn't the right piece of metal. Either way, I'm pretty sure Elon knows the importance of all this and has been transparent about what he does know. There is no advantage to Tesla to cover anything up or sweep it under the rug. If they know something that requires design changes, they will make them because that is what is in their long term best interest. Everything I have seen from looking at this company over the last several months indicates to me that is true.

Captain_Zap | 5 ottobre 2013

Most of the available information can be found here.

http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/22173-Model-S-Accident-Fire

Bring popcorn and a sleeping bag. The thread is a long trek.

JimAlger | 5 ottobre 2013

What Wayne is doing is the oldest trick in the book in opposition politics... cat doubt, question facts, throw around some smoke and then complain that you can't see.

1. How was the metal piece picked up if the incident occurred in the carpool lane. (also, if it was a large piece did other cars hit it and get damaged, or not get damaged?)

The piece was identified BY THE DRIVER as falling off of a semi-truck. As the driver knew where the incident occurred, and took THE FIRST EXIT, it isn't a stretch to assume it was removed from the roadway as it was identified as having such an angle as to create a leveraging action against the battery when struck at highway speed.

2. How do we know a metal piece, if found, was the right one. Elon himself admits in his blog, the metal piece "appears to be the culprit." What if it was another piece, a smaller one, but not the one blamed.

How do you KNOW your daddy is your daddy? Your mamma told you so. Here in the real world we go by preponderance of the evidence including damage to the vehicle.

3. How did the "road crew" know where to look if the driver drove some distance after the collision and then found an exit.

The distance he drove was to the next off ramp. State Police have functioning eyeballs and connected brain cells.

Benz | 5 ottobre 2013

@JimAlger

"The piece was identified BY THE DRIVER as falling off of a semi-truck."

That's interesting. Do you actually mean that the driver of the Model S saw the large metallic object falling off of a semi-truck?

I am wondering, did the driver of the Model S by chance in a split second have a look at the license plate of that particuar semi-truck? If he did, then that could lead to the arrest of the owner of that large metallic object, I think. Or am I wrong about this theory?

WayneH | 5 ottobre 2013

@JimAlger
This is what was reported initially, "The incident happened as the Tesla's driver was traveling southbound on state Route 167 through the Seattle suburb of Kent, said Trooper Chris Webb of the Washington State Patrol. The driver said he believed he had struck some metal debris on the freeway, so he exited the highway and the vehicle became disabled."
The press release by Tesla said, "Yesterday, a Model S collided with a large metallic object in the middle of the road, causing significant damage to the vehicle."
If it was a large metallic object, wouldn't other cars in that lane have struck it, too? And wouldn't the driver had mentioned it to the trooper?
I do not appreciate being attacked in the manner that you have for raising legitimate questions. Thus far we have had the version by the company, we have not had an independent analysis.

AtlantaCourier | 5 ottobre 2013

@ Benz

The truck wouldn't have been in the carpool lane so the owner cannot claim the Tesla was following too closely. I believe the truck was stolen however and the true owner isn't really liable.

Also, it's likely the driver didn't act alone. He and the men who pushed the metal piece off of the truck were probably paid by unseen, but powerful men holding short positions on TSLA. The truck was ditched shortly after the incident. Such a vehicle could remain unnoticed for months under the triple underpass at Dealer Plaza. It is NOT a coincidence that the Texas Automobile Dealers Association has offices near to this very location.

PorfirioR | 5 ottobre 2013

In the time it took me to read this thread, we had about 5 car fires in the US. In the two days this thread has been active, we had an average of 1 fatality by car fire in the US.

According to the NFPA:
"On average, 17 automobile fires were reported per hour. These fires killed an average of four people every week."
http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/vehicles

I am not trying to be a smart-alec, but am simply trying to illustrate that this car fire is being treated (and rightly so) by the authorities like any of the other countless car fires and single car accidents that happen routinely in this country.

Captain_Zap | 5 ottobre 2013

I think that fire frequency will go gown as when there are more well engineered pure battery EV's on the road.

Thomas N. | 5 ottobre 2013

Wayne - seriously, I would concentrate your efforts on the book suppository.

Captain_Zap | 5 ottobre 2013

...oops
go down
...not go gown

moorelin | 5 ottobre 2013

Pretty obvious where you put that book suppository - The End

cfOH | 5 ottobre 2013

@AtlantaCourier: You should write for The Onion. Seriously...you have a gift. :-)

Captain_Zap | 5 ottobre 2013

Oh how I miss the Onion News Network.
That was my favorite show.

Brit.l.T | 5 ottobre 2013

WayneH aka Mr. Scientist. Use that critical thinking ability. Mr. Elon does not have the authority to make final determination. The officials will do that. So his use of "seems to be the culprit" is appropriate here. He is just supplying information he is provided. Most likely, they came to the conclusion from looking at the debris field. Something that was damaged and could impact a car like that would be pretty easy to determine. If it was dragged, then there would be markings to show that. If it had been involved in a fire, that would be apparent. This is people's lively hood and are very trained and experienced in recreating accidents so I have faith in these parties. Accidents on the road happen often. It is totally plausible that the items was left in the road or on the shoulder. I see crap all the time.

Other cars may have missed it or perhaps the driver was inattentive and leaned on the shoulder where the item was. Who knows. There is many different ways this could have gone down. All that matters is that the car had an accident and the driver go out safely. What are you exactly suggesting here?

J.T. | 6 ottobre 2013

When I ran over my road debris it had been on the shoulder. The car I was behind swiped it and it came to rest in my lane.

AmpedRealtor | 6 ottobre 2013

@ WayneH - Get a hobby?

thranx | 6 ottobre 2013

@WayneH; I once participated in a seminar devoted to discussing (seriously) what would be necessary and proper for establishing the first viable human outpost on Mars. I was the only non-scientist in the group. Among the dozen others (some quite well known within their respective field) each was utterly convinced their way to proceed was the only way to proceed, and everyone else's proposal was unworthy of in-depth consideration.

I found all those Ph.d.'s pretty silly.

oildeathspiral | 6 ottobre 2013

WayneH

1. A report of a collision with an object the size of which was reported by the Tesla owner would surely send road authorities to investigate and then remove it from the road.

2. From what I can on Google Maps, at least some part of the highway in question has a good size center median next to the car pool lane. The object could have been dislodged at some point after the the Tesla hit and ended up in the median. In this case, no other drivers would have hit and I don't think traffic would need to be stopped.

3. An object that is large enough and strong enough to puncture a 3" hole in the battery pack's armor plating would be very hard to miss. If it was small and flat, the Model S would have gone right over it without incident. Same if the tires rolled over it.

4. How would YOU know if traffic was stopped or not? Probably wouldn't be reported. Barron's had 2 small blurbs on the incident. One said a "video of a Model S car catching fire went viral; the stock tanked. Tesla blamed the battery pack." and "...shares got hit as a video surfaced showing one of it's Model S cars in flames after a small accident."
Do you really think either of those is a fair or reasonable assessment? By leaving out even minor details about the incident, the appearance is that the batteries caught fire spontaneously or after a minor fender bender. Wouldn't you agree this is far more important than whether a traffic break was run? Maybe it was an oversight, maybe not but Barron's has been bearish on Tesla stock including a cover story that was run several months and 80 points ago. I don't recall reading an article about an incident on a freeway where they mention about running a traffic break to remove vehicles orclean up after an incident-it's obvious.

WayneH | 6 ottobre 2013

I thank those who have provided thoughtful responses.

The officer on the scene reports, "The driver said he believed he had struck some metal debris on the freeway, so he exited the highway and the vehicle became disabled."

Musk, in his blog, states, "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 Associated Press report states, "State and local officials have not been able to say what debris, if any, was found in the area."

I can find no information anywhere, besides what Tesla says, that "road crew" was present at the site of the collision and recovered the piece. If anyone has such information please post it and if it is true, I, and others, will be thankful and satisfied. I have little or no doubt that the car hit an object, most likely metal, but I have seen no proof yet that such object or debris was recovered. The PR put out by Tesla implies that they have the metal piece responsible for the collision. I would like to see proof that what they have is the actual piece and an interview with the "road crew" on how they came to recover it from the carpool lane and how they determined it to be the collision piece in question. I have read no reports that traffic was stopped to recover a metal piece.

This issue is important since at this point we don't know what size of metal debris -- or stone, or any extremely hard substance -- on the freeway can again cause damage to the wide underside of a Model S where the batteries are located and cause another fire or further problems for drivers. Musk implies this is an extremely unusual event not likely to be repeated (and does not say that a design change is required) - and he may be right - but do we really know for certain? Would changing the design to make the underbelly a little thicker or a stronger material be a good solution to minimize the risk further?

I realize many people admire Elon Musk, and I do too, but no matter how much we admire someone, if they say something that initially does not sound right or logical to us, it is our right to question it until we are shown strong evidence. If you wish to blindly trust 100 percent of what the CEO of a company says, or anyone in a position of leadership, that is your choice.

History is full of people who blindly followed their leaders without questioning, and sometimes not to a pleasant end.

jjaeger | 6 ottobre 2013

Yawn...

Bighorn | 6 ottobre 2013

So if Elon serves Kool-aid at the next TESLIVE, we should NOT drink it?

mrspaghetti | 6 ottobre 2013

@CaptainZap

I thought you were opining that spontaneous combustion of womens' formal attire would become more common than vehicle fires.

mrspaghetti | 6 ottobre 2013

@Wayne

I agree with previous post to the effect that a non-fatality accident will not, and probably should not, get the kind of investigation you are looking for. Might as well leave it at that.

WayneH | 6 ottobre 2013

@mrspaghetti
I had a long walk this evening with a friend of mine who works as a location scout for movies and ad agencies and has done so for 20 years. He is also involved in coordinating closure of roads with local road and highway departments and police in order to do film shoots. He told me that if the "road crew" on this Washington state freeway had found something of significance on the road they would turn it over to the local Washington state highway or public works department where an incident report would be made. The metal piece would then be the property of that department. He cannot see how, if such a metal piece was found, that it would be sent to another state, such as California, particularly a private company in another state, without such a record and incident report being made. If such a piece was found, there should be a record of it somewhere. So, @mrspaghetti, if this was a non-fatal accident and did not get the kind of investigation that you propose, why would road crew go looking for such a piece?

oildeathspiral | 6 ottobre 2013

WayneH

"...if this was a non-fatal accident and did not get the kind of investigation that you propose, why would road crew go looking for such a piece?"

To get it off of the highway. It's fine if you want to ignore my earlier points but how about answering one question: how do you propose that a piece of debris large enough to put a 3" hole in the battery pack's quarter inch armor plate made it off of the highway from the HOV lane considering there is a solid concrete divider and not an open median?

I would note that Elon has much to lose and nothing to gain by fabricating things as you seem to be implying. The facts will eventually come out and by not telling the truth he would lose all credibility which hurt him and Tesla. It's not his style, even if there were some benefit.

Captain_Zap | 6 ottobre 2013

@mrspaghetti G

Good one!

DavidG | 6 ottobre 2013

The $64,000 question is, did anyone find the semi truck that dropped that metal object?

That semi driver will be held liable for the damages!

Brian H | 7 ottobre 2013

Hee-heh;
"people's lively hood"
Where they have wild street parties?

Not compatible with a first responder's livelihood.

That metal lever must have been really strong; if the battery case wasn't stronger, it would have made a right mess of the driver, I think.

Benz | 7 ottobre 2013

I think nobody would mind it if a photo of that large metallic object was put on the internet. That thing must be massively strong, as it made that 3 inch hole in the body of the battery pack. We all would like to see a photo of that thing.

WayneH | 7 ottobre 2013

@oildeathspiral
I do not know what happened to the alleged metal piece in question. What has been reported thus far by the Associated Press is:
"State and local officials have not been able to say what debris, if any, was found in the area."
If a "road crew" had picked up a metal piece and turned it over to the local road / highway or public works department, as far as I know that department has not shown any pictures of such metal piece to the national press. It is very simple. If such a piece had been picked up and turned over to the local Washington state road department, there should be a record of it and pictures taken of it before shipping it to Tesla Motors at Fremont, California. If anyone is aware of such a record then do inform us. Many current and future Tesla owners are curious to see what it looks like.

SamO | 7 ottobre 2013

@wayneH

You keeps quoting an article that was reported prior to the reporting by Tesla.

So you assume that since the police didn't have information on the metal contemporaneously to the accident they could never get any NEW information.

This seems to be a problem of logic.

Also you "friend" that works as a location scout is hardly an expert in accident management.

Pages