Third Tesla in Six Weeks Destroyed by Fire

By Paul Riegler on 8 November 2013
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Bildschirmfoto 2013-11-08 um 12.27A Tesla Model S was destroyed by fire in Smyrna, Tennessee on Wednesday after the car hit a tow hitch that was on the roadway, causing an electrical fire, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol.  The driver was uninjured.

The accident was the third reported Tesla fire in six weeks.  The first occurred on October 1 in Kent, Washington after a driver struck debris on the road and was followed by one in Mexico on October 18, where the fire broke out after the driver collided with a wall.

The latest fire raises further questions over the design of the car’s advanced lithium-ion batteries.  On Thursday, the National Highway Safety and Transportation Administration said it would investigate the latest accident.  In a statement released on Thursday, the agency said it will “contact the local authorities that are looking into the incident to determine if there are vehicle safety implications that merit agency action.”

In the case of the accident in Washington, federal safety regulators said that the fire had not been caused by a defect in the car’s design.

Tesla is also conducting its own investigation. “Our team is on its way to Tennessee to learn more about what happened in the accident,” Tesla said in a statement.

Tesla has recently said that it faces a shortage of batteries for its vehicles as well as higher R&D costs and that the shortage limits its ability to produce as many cars as it would like.

(Photo: Tennessee Highway Patrol)