Earlier this week, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) had to deal with the third Model S vehicle to be involved in a fire in the last 6 weeks. Fortunately, Tesla Model S drivers are happy with their vehicles despite the fires. Juris Shibayama, a medical doctor in Tennessee, described how his Model S vehicle caught on fire.
“I was driving home from work on the interstate in the right lane at approximately 70 miles per hour, following a truck. In the middle of the lane, there was a rusty three-pronged trailer hitch that was sticking up with the ball up in the air. The truck in front of me cleared the object. I did not have enough time to swerve to avoid the hitch, and it went below my car. I felt a firm ‘thud’ as the hitch struck the bottom of the car, and it felt as though it even lifted the car up in the air. My assistant later found a gouge in the tarmac where the item scraped into the road. Somewhat shaken, I continued to drive,” said Shibayama in a blog post. “About 30-45 seconds later, there was a warning on the dashboard display saying, ‘Car needs service. Car may not restart.’ I continued to drive, hoping to get home. About one minute later, the message on the dashboard display read, ‘Please pull over safely. Car is shutting down.’ I was able to fully control the car the entire time and safely pulled off the left shoulder on the side of the road. I got out of the car, and started to get all my belongings out. About 5-10 seconds after getting out of the car, smoke started to come from the front underbody of the car. I walked away from the vehicle to a distance of about 100 yards. More smoke started to come out of the bottom of the car, and about two minutes after I walked away, the front of the car caught on fire.”
Shibayama said that if he was in a non-Tesla vehicle, the object could have punched through the floor and caused him serious harm. The time between the impact of the object until the time the car caught fire was around 5 minutes and the car warned him that the car was damaged and instructed him to pull over. The event was a totally controlled situation. There was never a point where Shibayama was close to any flames.
“This experience does not in any way make me think that the Tesla Model S is an unsafe car. I would buy another one in a heartbeat,” added Shibayama in the blog post.
[Image Credit: TeslaMotors.com]