Tesla Model S Engulfed In Flames During Worst Test Drive Ever

Image courtesy of Twitter

You might remember a few years ago that after three Tesla Model S sedans caught fire, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stepped in and opened an investigation into the series of fires, and Tesla made changes to the vehicles based on what happened. Now another fire has happened in France.

This isn’t the first reported Tesla fire in Europe this year. In Norway, where a government subsidy for electric vehicles has made Tesla a popular brand, a Model S caught fire at one of the automaker’s Supercharger stations due to a short circuit. The company made software changes related to charging after that incident.

The fire yesterday happened during a test drive in the south of France, with the test driver, his girlfriend, and a Tesla employee in the car.

“We were going about 70 km/h (43 mph) on the Boulevard d’Aritxague in Bayonne, we heard a loud noise inside the car,” he told local newspaper Sud-Ouest (our translation). “The [Tesla employee] told me to pull over. She wanted to call Tesla before continuing the test drive.”

Instead, he told the paper, the car got hotter as he pulled over, and he saw white smoke. Everyone bailed out of the vehicle, and it’s good that they didn’t hesitate. “The car was in flames within a minute,” he told a reporter, and “destroyed within five minutes.”

You can see for yourself in this video posted to Twitter, from before the local firefighters arrived.

None of the passengers were injured and no property was damaged other than the car, according to local authorities.

In a statement to Sud-Ouest, Tesla Motors said in a statement (again, this is our translation): “We are working with the authorities to determine the circumstances of the accident, and are cooperating with them completely. The passengers are safe and sound. They were able to exit the vehicle before the incident occurred.”

Tesla car catches fire during promotional event in France [AP]
Pays basque : une voiture électrique Tesla prend feu lors d’un essai [Sud-Ouest]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.