Was this a battery fire or something else?
This isn't the first time a Tesla has caught on fire and it probably won't be the last. However, this is the first known instance of a brand new Tesla Model S Plaid igniting, and it's happened under mysterious circumstances. The incident happened in Haverford, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, on Tuesday night. The local Gladwyne fire department quickly responded with two fire engines arriving at the same time.
Because the firefighters previously underwent training classes on how to extinguish Tesla fires (and electric vehicle fires in general), they knew exactly what to do. Still, they were on the scene for over three hours until the all-clear was given.
No one was hurt. However, an EMT crew member posted on a now-deleted Reddit post that firefighters told them "the call came in from one of the residents of the neighborhood who saw it rolling down the road on fire before exploding in front of their house." This individual also claims authorities are still looking for the Tesla's owner.
Though it's happened in very rare instances, electric vehicles do not just suddenly catch on fire. Those that have, including Teslas, are typically charging at the time or were involved in a serious collision that managed to damage the lithium-ion batteries.
In this instance, there doesn't appear to be any signs of an impact with another vehicle or object, though there's not a whole lot left of the car to confirm this. The claim it was seen rolling down the street seconds prior to the fire offers an interesting and troubling clue: Could this be a case of arson?
Since it was allegedly rolling, chances are there wasn't a driver but someone had to initiate the roll. Even so, why did it immediately catch on fire upon impact? It couldn't have been going that fast because this is a residential area. Investigators are undoubtedly trying to get to the bottom of this pretty shady occurrence.