2013 Tesla Model S Fire Triggers Stock Slide


  • 2013 Tesla Model S Picture

    2013 Tesla Model S Picture

    Shares in Tesla Motors tumbled after a fire in a 2013 Tesla Model S. | October 03, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • Shares in Tesla Motors declined on Wednesday after a video posted on YouTube showed a 2013 Tesla Model S in flames.
  • Tesla said the fire was caused by substantial damage sustained during a collision.
  • Trooper Chris Webb of the Washington State Patrol told Edmunds late Wednesday that the final collision report is in the process of being reviewed by a supervisor and should be released shortly.

KENT, Washington — Shares in Tesla Motors declined on Wednesday after a video posted on YouTube showed a 2013 Tesla Model S in flames.

Tesla Motors stock closed down 6.2 percent at $180.95.

Tesla said the fire was caused by substantial damage sustained during a collision. The incident occurred at 8:18 a.m. on October 1 on SR 167 to the Willis St. exit here, police said.

Trooper Chris Webb of the Washington State Patrol told Edmunds late Wednesday that the final collision report is in the process of being reviewed by a supervisor and should be released shortly.

The YouTube video was first posted on Jalopnik, which said the video was obtained from a reader. The video contains some off-color language.

Tesla said the flames were limited to the front of the electric car.

"A Model S collided with a large metallic object in the middle of the road, causing significant damage to the vehicle," according to the Tesla statement provided to Edmunds by Liz Jarvis-Shean, a Tesla spokeswoman. "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."

Webb provided Edmunds with the following information from the investigating trooper: "The driver of the Tesla stated that he struck metal debris on the highway and exited to Willis Street where his vehicle became disabled. The driver stated that he began to smell something burning and a short time later the vehicle caught on fire.

"It took the fire department several attempts to extinguish the flames as it kept reigniting. Although the trooper did not observe any debris, DOT (Department of Transportation) drove through the area and did observe and may have retrieve (sic) some metal debris near the scene. The trooper stated that there was too much damage from the fire to see how much damage the debris caused."

In a phone conversation late Wednesday, Webb said that the collision report is in the process of being reviewed by a supervisor.

"The collision report will list things like the roadway conditions," Webb said.

But he added that the final report may not shed more light on the situation, since the preliminary report "is right from the trooper" at the scene.

Webb said the collision report "should be available in a few days."

Edmunds says: In the meantime, investors will be watching Tesla stock closely today.

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