New details about last week's mystery fire.
There could be an extremely serious problem with the new Tesla Model S Plaid. Last week, we reported about a newly delivered example that burst into flames in a residential suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for an unknown reason. Possible arson wasn't ruled out at the time but now new details have come to light.
Reuters reports the owner, only identified as an "executive entrepreneur," has obtained legal counsel in the matter. The owner was driving the $129,000 high-powered electric vehicle only three days after taking delivery when the incident happened. But what was really scary is that moments after noticing the fire, the driver stopped the vehicle but was unable to get out because the electronic door system had failed.
According to the man's attorney, Mark Geragos, he managed to save himself by using "force to push [the door] open." After bailing out, the car then rolled down a hill near the driver's home for about 35 to 40 feet before it turned into a "fireball." Geragos rightly described it as "a harrowing and horrifying experience." Tesla, not surprisingly, has not commented as of this writing.
"This is a brand new model," Geragos added. "We are doing an investigation. We are calling for the S Plaid to be grounded, not to be on the road until we get to the bottom of this."
Until a full investigation has been completed and the results made public, we can only make assumptions about what went wrong here. Still, there's already justifiable early speculation the 100-kWh battery is the culprit. Tesla CEO Elon Musk previously said a lot of work had gone into making the Plaid's new battery pack was safe. At a launch event last month, Musk claimed the car is "faster than any Porsche, safer than any Volvo." The Model X Plaid has the same battery pack.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is already speaking with Tesla and local authorities on the matter and will open an investigation if it deems necessary.