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Thread: Model S Accident/Fire

  1. #1
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    Model S Accident/Fire

    I'm VERY curious as to what caused the fire.

    This Is What Fiery Tesla Model S Death Looks Like (UPDATED) - Jalopnik
    Last edited by doug; 2013-10-04 at 09:17 AM. Reason: Simplified thread title, fixed URL parsing.
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      Wiki-Post This is a Wiki Post.
    Tesla posted an official blog entry from Elon on Friday 4-Oct addressing this.

    Statements from Tesla (before blog was posted):
    On Tuesday, a Model S collided with a large metallic object in the middle of the road, causing significant damage to the vehicle. The car's alert system signaled a problem and instructed the driver to pull over safely, which he did. No one was injured, and the sole occupant had sufficient time to exit the vehicle safely and call the authorities. Subsequently, a fire caused by the substantial damage sustained during the collision was contained to the front of the vehicle thanks to the design and construction of the vehicle and battery pack. All indications are that the fire never entered the interior cabin of the car. It was extinguished on-site by the fire department.
    The fire was caused by the 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.
    Video of fire (warning NSFW language):


    Location:


    Useful articles on the incident:
    Tesla Model S Fire | Car Safety - Consumer Reports News

    Your Guide To The Tesla Model S Fire (And Why Its Not A Big Deal) - Jalopnik

    Surprise, Cars Sometimes Catch Fire When Crashed! Why Everyone Needs To Take A Breath On Tesla - Motor Authority
    A Thought Experiment

    Hypothetical: A 2014 Chevy Malibu hits a (presumably rather large) metal object in the roadway, destroying the front end of the car and rupturing the gas tank. The gas tank then catches fire. People take photos and video of it.

    Normal day at the office.

    See the problem here? Cars catch fire when they crash, sometimes. The Tesla Model S is a car. So what's the big deal?
    Elon responds: http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/model-s-fire
    Last edited by Trnsl8r; 2013-10-04 at 02:13 PM. Reason: Adding link to Elon's blog post
    The above was post may have been edited by multiple members. The last person to save an edit is displayed.

  3. #3
    Senior Member mknox's Avatar
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    Holy cow! That does not look good!
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by mknox View Post
    Holy cow! That does not look good!
    Agreed. It looks focused under the front of the car. Impressed Jalopnik managed to keep it in their pants.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Krugerrand's Avatar
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    Some sort of fluid...brake fluid? It all looks very 'routine' by the firefighters and they're right in there as if they're not worried at all about an 'explosion' and they know exactly what's burning etc..

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    Given that the fire is spreading on the ground downhill I would say the car got caught a gas fire of the vehicle that it struck...

    Battery fires don't produce streams of burning liquid

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    I hope the occupants are ok! The car is torn up but the passenger compartment looks to be in good shape.
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    Senior Member Krugerrand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahaer View Post
    Given that the fire is spreading on the ground downhill I would say the car got caught a gas fire of the vehicle that it struck...

    Battery fires don't produce streams of burning liquid
    Yes, I thought it might be gas from the other vehicle as well. There's just no 'urgency' in any of these photos and as you say, with the fire going downhill...it's definitely some kind of flammable liquid. They put it out easily and quickly. No biggie. And no need for people to get all concerned about it in terms of it being a fire.

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    Hard to tell if there are streams of burning liquid or if it's molten plastic or something. The one image where the "liquid" seems to be flowing downhill, it is actually hosed downhill by the firefighters.

    That the fire at the front mostly eliminates the drive train as a cause, though. It could in theory be the battery, but that seems quite unlikely. More relevant causes could be brakes, a low voltage short, or something similar. There are no other damaged vehicles in sight, so a collision doesn't seem very likely.
    Planning on getting a Model S in 2014.

  10. #10
    Senior Member brianman's Avatar
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    I find it a little troubling that they (a) chose the headline they did and (b) included zero information on the occupants. Was it a vehicle death or a human death? They (IMO) intentionally chose a title to make that vague (or they just have fail editorial staff and made an honest "mistake").

    That said, is the car "dead"? From what we've seen previously (GasDoc for example), that is definitely not "known" from the photos that are shown in the article.
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