Stolen Tesla Model S in Hollywood, crashes after 100+ miles/hr police chase, splits in half, burns

Another Tesla Model S – on fire
Source: NBC Los Angeles

Remember last year when we had three Tesla Model S car fires within a month?  Two were from road debris skewering the battery pack, with the short circuit causing a car fire, while the third was a high speed collision in Mexico that should have killed the occupants but instead they walked away.  Tesla Motors responded first by increasing the Model S ride height, making road debris less of a problem, and then by designing a titanium shield.  Problem solved, right?  No fiery Model S’s since, no problem.

What happens when you crash a Model S so hard that it splits in half?  We now know.  It burns.

Last night saw a fourth Tesla Model S catch on fire and burn, this time after an extreme accident in Hollywood CA.

The Model S had been stolen, and was being driven at high speeds through Hollywood.  Police were in pursuit, at speeds over 100 miles/hr, and the chase ended with the Model S crashing into several other cars, hitting a pole, tearing in half, and catching fire (as did some other cars in the crash).  Several people were sent to the hospital and are in critical condition.  The Model S driver apparently died on the scene, but was revived and is in the hospital.

A video report from an NBC Affiliate in Hollywood shows several cars on fire, with the front half of a Tesla Model S in flames.  There’s also a scene where, in the background, there are explosions occurring, but they’re not coming from the Model S.  Was something in one of the gasser cars exploding?

Tesla Model S – front half
Source: NBC Los Angeles

That accounts for the front half of the Model S.  What about the back?

Tesla Model S – back half
Source: NBC Los Angeles

Reportedly this is the front door of a Synagogue, now with a Model S rear end.

It serves as proof to just how horrific was this collision.

It’s the kind of collision where you expect everyone involved to have been killed on impact.  Instead – yes, they were hurt, they’re in critical condition, but they survived, as did the occupants of other cars.

Which serves as proof that modern cars are safer.

Are the right wingers going to try to make hoopla about this, as they have about other electric car fires?  With past electric car fires there’s been a chorus of right wingers screeching about how dangerous these electric cars are.  Somehow they conveniently neglect to mention the 200,000+ gasoline car fires every year.  Their action seems calculated to create Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, which would serve the interests of Oil Companies who want us to keep driving on gasoline.

A quick peak into news.google.com doesn’t reveal anything of that sort this time.

The Titanium Shields did not prevent this Model S from catching fire.  Is Tesla, then, a failure that they can’t even prevent a Model S fire?  That’s a question I expect will be raised, but here’s why the theory is false.  The titanium shields were not designed with this sort of collision in mind.  They were designed to prevent fires from road debris, because after two road debris fires it was obvious the Model S had a vulnerability to that scenario.

With this sort of accident – high speeds and crazy drivers – it’s completely out of line to expect Tesla Motors or any other automaker to prevent car fires in such a case.

The front half of the Model S is still recognizable in this picture.  What can we make of that?  That Tesla built an extremely sturdy car?  That their battery pack design does such a good job channeling fire that the car body didn’t catch fire?  Yup.

It does appear from the pictures the Model S battery pack caught fire.  So what?  We already know Model S battery packs can catch fire, and now we know a new scenario where that can happen.  Extreme collisions at high speed that tear the Model S in half.

Hopefully others in the Press will be wise enough to recognize this case isn’t proof of any extra danger from electric cars.  All this case proves is crazy drivers, when chased by police in a fast car, can cause horrific accidents.  Are we surprised by this?

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

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