Driver Not Injured in Third Tesla Model S Fire, Company Says


  • 2013 Tesla Model S Picture

    2013 Tesla Model S Picture

    An unidentified driver was not injured following a crash and fire in a 2013 Tesla Model S near Smyrna, Tennessee on Wednesday. | November 07, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • An unidentified driver was not injured following a crash and fire in a 2013 Tesla Model S near Smyrna, Tennessee on Wednesday, Tesla Motors told Edmunds.
  • "We have been in contact with the driver, who was not injured and believes the car saved his life," wrote Liz Jarvis-Shean, a Tesla spokeswoman in response to an e-mailed query.
  • Sgt. Bill Miller, the public information officer of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, said he had not been given any information about the Model S crash as of early Thursday morning.

SMYRNA, Tennessee — An unidentified driver was not injured following the crash and fire of a 2013 Tesla Model S electric car near Smyrna, Tennessee on Wednesday, Tesla Motors told Edmunds.

"We have been in contact with the driver, who was not injured and believes the car saved his life," wrote Liz Jarvis-Shean, a Tesla spokeswoman, in response to an e-mailed query. "Our team is on its way to Tennessee to learn more about what happened in the accident. We will provide more information when we're able to do so."

Sgt. Bill Miller, the public information officer of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, said he had not been given any information about the Model S crash as of early Thursday morning in a phone conversation with Edmunds. The Tennessee Highway Patrol oversees accidents in 95 counties in the state. "If it's a one-vehicle crash, I probably won't be made aware of it," Miller said. "If it's a crash or vehicle fire they (the responding municipality) could defer the investigation to us. But we're at the mercy of the investigating trooper."

Information about this latest Tesla Model S fire was posted on the Tesla Motors Club blog, along with Instagram photos.

The photos do not make it clear if the Model S struck an object in the road.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who was quick to respond to the first two fire reports, as of early Thursday morning had not yet publicly commented on the third fire.

The company addressed Model S safety in its earnings report this week.

"Safely storing and using the energy contained in our battery packs has been a core objective of Tesla," the company said. "All vehicles carry energy and face the risk that this energy could be released in an accident. Even though the electrical energy stored in the battery pack is only about one tenth of the chemical energy stored in a tank of gasoline, we have designed complementary safety systems into the battery pack, including armor plating, internal firewalls and monitoring systems which provide additional layers of protection."

This third reported crash and fire of a Model S follows two other incidents last month. The first crash and fire occurred following an October 1 incident in Washington state. A crash into an object in the road by a Model S started a fire in the battery pack in that incident. A second Model S crash and fire happened near Merida, Mexico.

Edmunds says: No conclusions can be drawn about this latest fire in a Tesla Model S until company and law-enforcement officials finish their investigations.

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