Tesla Model S crashes and explodes in giant fireball; two fatalities reported

Tesla Model cars are fast, powerful and modern, but they can still crash and when they do, present a whole new set of challenges to rescuers.

tech2 News Staff November 05, 2016 16:49:12 IST
Tesla Model S crashes and explodes in giant fireball; two fatalities reported

Tesla Model cars are fast, powerful and modern, but they can still crash and when they do, present a whole new set of challenges to rescuers.

The Associated Press reports that a Tesla Model S was travelling at high speed, hit a tree, “bounced around” and then exploded. The driver apparently lost control of the car moments before the accident occurred, which leads some to speculate that Autopilot wasn’t enabled. A Tesla spokesperson also confirmed the same to Mashable.

Eye witnesses and firefighters who arrived on the scene describe a scene of utter carnage. They say that car parts were strewn all over the place and that some of the smaller Lithium-Ion cells had broken off and began firing off “projectiles” at rescuers.

An Indianapolis fire department official who spoke to the press explained that two people were present in the car at the time of the accident and that, tragically, both suffered fatal injuries. One person was already dead by the time rescuers were on the scene, another died soon after reaching the hospital.

The problem, said rescuers, was the fire. Lithium Ion batteries burn really hot and require “copious volumes of water” to put out. Rescuers were unable to put out the fire in time to save the other passenger.

The fire department is quick to point out that the they weren’t specifically placing the blame on the Tesla Model S or electric cars in general, only going on record to state that any high speed collision can involve fires. Tesla already provides detailed emergency guidelines for dealing with their cars, as does almost every other manufacturer. Officials also state that Tesla was cooperating with the investigation as best they could.

In fact, Tesla’s emergency guidelines recommend that it’s best to let a burning Tesla vehicle burn itself out, owing to the effort involved in putting out a Lithium-Ion battery fire. Firefighters state that this wasn’t an option in this case because someone was still alive in the car. They also added that a battery fire can rage for over 24 hours.

The fire department did say that electric cars like the Tesla Model S do pose some challenges in that high voltage lines pass through the car and that it’s dangerous to make cuts without risking further damage. They also add that Lithium-Ion batteries are particularly volatile.

Again, however, the officials state that modern cars are also difficult to get through (chop up) anyway.

Tesla officials also clarify that Autopilot would have limited the Model S’ speed to below 35mph (around 56kph) on the street where the accident occurred.

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.