When a car catches fire and only a few people are around to see it, does it make headlines? When the car in question in an all-electric Tesla Model S, then the answer is yes. Like the Fisker Karma and any other electric vehicle before it, this Tesla was at the mercy of the media when it caught fire earlier this week.
Reports say that while the fire did begin at the battery, it was not a spontaneous event. Just outside of Seattle in Kent, Washington, the driver of this Model S ran over a large metal object in the road, which signaled the cars central computer to an issue. Only a few seconds later, the car was up in flames, contained locally near the front of the car (battery pack).
Tesla tells us that the metal object in question went directly into the battery casing, puncturing it. Thankfully, the driver managed to get out of his car in time to avoid any sort of injury.
This is the first reported fire in any Tesla vehicle to date, and the automaker is really feeling the heat. When Wall Street closed on Wednesday, Tesla’s market value plummeted by a massive $600 million (6.2%), leaving the company’s total value at just under $22 billion. This would make it one of the costliest vehicle fires to date, and, one of the worst drops in company history.
Watch the Tesla Model S up in flames below (warning: NSFW language):