Not only did it catch fire, the Tesla Model S also locked the door, making it impossible for the owner to get out.
A Tesla Model S Plaid caught fire while traveling on the road at about 9pm on Tuesday, June 29. And for a short period of time, the car locked the driver inside, in a situation where the electronically activated door system didn’t work.
The incident happened in Pennsylvania (USA), just days after the owner of the car received a model that Tesla has hailed as the fastest mass-produced car in the world. Tesla said it delivered its first 25 cars in June after CEO Elon Musk held a flashy media event in Fremont, California.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it is gathering information about the incident.
“NHTSA is aware of the Tesla vehicle fire in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, and is in contact with relevant authorities and manufacturers to gather information about the incident,” spokeswoman Lucia Sanchez said. “If data or investigation indicates that a defect or inherent risk to safety exists, NHTSA will take appropriate action to protect the public.”
The agency is investigating alleged defects in Tesla sedans and SUVs, including older Model S and Model X vehicles, an investigation that opened in 2019.
The incident bears similarities to previous Tesla fires, with the smell of burning electrical equipment or smoke rising, and owners trapped in the vehicle after the vehicle’s electronics malfunctioned.
The owner’s attorney, Mark Geragos, of the law firm Geragos and Geragos, said his client did not wish to be identified. He also shared photos and documents that confirm the car is a Model S Plaid and said it was delivered last weekend, before the incident. Geragos is also working with another attorney, Jason Setchen, who also represents vehicle owners.
“He was in the car, smelled the smoke, turned around and saw smoke rising in the cabin, then the fire broke out almost immediately,” Geragos shared information about the incident. “The door was broken, he was lucky to get out and somehow the car was still moving for a bit more. And as soon as he got out of the car, the car was engulfed in flames.” .
Attorney Setchen said his client narrowly escaped the fire when the car caught fire and the door was locked and could not be opened.
“As soon as he saw flames coming from behind, he immediately pulled over to the side of the road to try to get out,” Setchen said. “But the door wouldn’t open and he ended up having to use all his body weight to push it open.”
Attorneys are continuing to investigate the matter and will consider their options once the investigation is complete. They said they planned to formally alert NHTSA about the issue, in case it affects more vehicles.
Tesla hailed the car as an engineering marvel, promising 390 miles of range and more than 1,000 horsepower, a top speed of 200 miles per hour, and acceleration from zero to zero. 60 miles/hour for less than 2 seconds. Now the fire is raising long-smoldering questions about Tesla’s approach to electricity involving the use of battery chemicals that differ from those of competitors and its ambition to maximize range. usage and performance compared to competitors.