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Second Model S Catches Fire in Mexico

Car smashed into two walls and a tree before catching fire.

by on Oct.28, 2013

The remains of a second Tesla Model S that caught fire. In this case, it hit two walls and a tree beforehand and the driver escaped unharmed.

Just as Tesla managed to get past the furor around the Model S that caught fire in Seattle earlier this month, it appears the company will be dealing with a second fire.

Shaky, fuzzy video footage – as well as several pictures of the aftermath – of what appears to a white Model S engulfed in flames is working its way around the Internet. According to multiple media reports, the incident occurred on Oct. 18 in Merida, which is in the northern Yucatan peninsula of Mexico.

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Reports say that the fire occurred after the Model S crashed into two walls after speeding into a roundabout and then collided with a tree. The driver, who also according to media reports, was driving under the influence of alcohol escaped with no major injuries. It’s unclear if these crashes caused enough damage to pierce into the battery and started the fire, as was the case in the earlier fire in Seattle.

Tesla executives were not available for comment. Nor has Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder and CEO, who often uses Twitter to address issues, offered comment on his Twitter account or corporate blog.

As mentioned, it was the second time this month that a Model S caught fire. According to the maker’s own investigation of the Seattle incident, a large chunk of metal debris managed to punch a three-inch hole in the armor surrounding the battery pack. It was an odd an unlikely occurrence and, Musk noted, the design of the pack kept the fire relatively limited in scope.

But investigators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – who were on furlough due to the government shutdown when the fire occurred – have just begun their own investigation and it is unclear what that may yield.

(Musk insists Model S is safe in spite of fire. For more, Click Here.)

In the aftermath of the Seattle fire, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk took to the company’s blog to respond to concerns about a fire that erupted under the hood of a Model S noting there were no injuries in the incident, apparently in part due to the vehicle’s own warning system which advised the driver to pull over and exit before the fire erupted in the battery compartment.

(Click Here to read about the impact the incident is having on Tesla’s share price.)

Musk suggested that the fact the driver was piloting an EV worked in his favor.

“For consumers concerned about fire risk, there should be absolutely zero doubt that it is safer to power a car with a battery than a large tank of highly flammable liquid.”

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One Response to “Second Model S Catches Fire in Mexico”

  1. Jorge M. says:

    This sounds like a totally different deal, IMO. In the first case a piece of metal laying in the road that was run over punctured the battery pack. That’s simply negligence for not providing better battery case protection.

    This second case may not be a product defect as no auto is 100% guaranteed not to engulf in flames upon a major crash. The second incident like the first however illustrates the challenges for fire fighters battling EV flames from battery issues in that foam or Halon need to be used to extinguish the fire as water could electrocute the fire fighters or increase the intensity of the fire.