Tesla’s lithium ion batteries have reignited on two separate occasions after the initial fires were extinguished, according to NTSB reports.
The National Traffic Safety Board sent teams to investigate Tesla crashes in Florida and California and in both cases found that after the fire departments put out battery fires, the powerplants each reignited and had to be extinguished again.
In May, a Tesla Model S that crashed into a wall at high speed in Fort Lauderdale burst into flames, killing two teens and injuring a third.The Fort Lauderdale Fire and Rescue Department found the Tesla “fully engulfed in flames” at the crash scene and extinguished it with 200 to 300 gallons of water and foam, the report stated.
Responders also doused parts of battery that separated from the vehicle even though they were not visibly on fire. However, as the vehicle was being loaded for removal, the batteries reignited and were put out. They caught on fire again at the storage facility and were once again extinguished.
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In March, a similar series of events occurred with a Model X in Mountain View, California.
The vehicle crashed into a retaining wall and was on fire when fire and rescue personnel arrived on the scene. The first was put out and did not reignite at the accident site. After the car was taken to storage, the battery “emanated smoke and audible venting” but didn’t ignite. However, five days later it reignited and had to be extinguished again.
Tesla endured a series of battery-related fires two years ago, but made changes to the vehicle’s structure in order to make it less likely that the compartment would be breached in an accident. However, in recent months there have been a series of accidents where the vehicles have caught fire.
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Additionally, a Model S caught fire for no apparent reason. The car, which is owned by Hollywood producer Michael Morris, simply went up in flames while he was driving. His wife, actress Mary McCormack, filmed the parked vehicle as became engulfed in flames.
“This is an extraordinarily unusual occurrence, and we are investigating the incident to find out what happened,” Tesla said in a statement.
“Our initial investigation shows that the cabin of the vehicle was totally unaffected by the fire due to our battery architecture, which is designed to protect the cabin in the very rare event that a battery fire occurs.
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“While our customer had time to safely exit the car, we are working to understand the cause of the fire. We’re glad our customer is safe.” The NTSB has not announced if it plans to investigate and there is no word on whether or not that vehicle’s battery was the cause.