This Tesla Model S plaid caught fire while the driver was behind the wheel, according to a local fire chief and lawyers representing the driver on June 29, 2021 in Haverford, Pennsylvania.
Provided by Geragos & Geragos
A 2021 Tesla Model S plaid sedan caught fire Tuesday night in Haverford, Pa. While the owner was behind the wheel, according to Charles McGarvey, chief fire officer for the Lower Merion Township Fire Department.
Tesla began shipping the Model S Plaid, a new high-performance version of its flagship electric sedan, in June after CEO Elon Musk announced on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast that they would begin in February.
Musk said in April that development was “more challenging than expected,” adding, “It has taken some development to make sure the battery on the new S and X is safe.”
The car owner’s lawyers told CNBC that he had noticed smoke from the back of his 2021 Model S plaid and tried to unlock and open the doors, but forced his way out of the vehicle as the locks weren’t working properly. After he got out of the car, it started moving on its own and was caught in flames.
The owner, whose identity has not been disclosed, is represented by Mark Geragos of Geragos & Geragos in Los Angeles and Jason Setchen of Athlete Defender in Miami.
Two crews of firefighters worked the site a little over 3 hours handling the emergency, McGarvey told CNBC.
As NBC News recently reported, electric vehicle fires can take up to 25,000 gallons of water to be completely extinguished. For comparison: a typical car fire with an internal combustion engine can be extinguished with around 300 liters of water.
Firefighters took the 2021 Tesla Model S plaid to a complex for safe overnight storage, McGarvey said. The owner has since had the car removed from that facility, McGarvey said, and will have the vehicle examined independently to determine the cause of the fire. McGarvey said his teams have been in contact with Tesla and should release more information on public records soon.
This Tesla Model S plaid caught fire while the driver was behind the wheel, according to a local fire chief and lawyers representing the driver on June 29, 2021 in Haverford, Pennsylvania
A spokesman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told CNBC that the Tesla vehicle fire in Pennsylvania was known and was in contact with the relevant authorities and the manufacturer to gather more information about the incident. “If data or investigations show a deficiency or an inherent security risk, the NHTSA will take appropriate measures to protect the public,” the spokesman said.
Another state vehicle safety watchdog, the National Transportation Safety Board, is not conducting an investigation, CNBC said.
Tesla is expected to announce in the coming days how many vehicles it produced and delivered in the last quarter. It is not yet known how many new Model S or Model S Plaid cars have been delivered to customers.