Brand new Tesla Model S Plaid caught on fire in strange circumstances

A brand new Tesla Model S Plaid has caught on fire in a suburb of Philadelphia last nigh and witnesses are reporting some strange circumstances.

The fire was reported at around 9PM in Haverford, Pennsylvania last night.

The Gladwyne fire department, who participated in the effort to extinguish the fire, released a report on the accident:

“Gladwyne Firefighters responding to the 100 block of Rose Lane last night just before 9pm to assist Station 25 (Merion Fire Company of Ardmore) with a vehicle fire. While enroute to the call Chief 25 was advised that the reports were that a Tesla was on fire and it was well involved in fire. Engine 24 with a crew of 7 arrived on scene simultaneously with Engine 25. Due to prior training classes on Tesla Vehicle Fire emergencies, Engine 24 laid a 5 inch supply line into the scene so that we could keep a continual water stream on the fire to extinguish the fire and cool the batteries down to ensure complete extinguishment. Engine 24 and Engine 25 both deployed hand lines to extinguish the fire, each maintained a dedicated water source and continued to cool the vehicle down for almost 90 minutes.”

They release several pictures of the fire and the aftermath, which left the Tesla vehicle as a pile of metal:

Based on the front-end and the wheels seen in the last picture, this is a Model S Plaid.

Tesla only started deliveries of the new Model S Plaid a few weeks ago, which would indicate that the vehicle is brand new.

It’s not usual for cars, electric or otherwise, to catch on fire after a high-speed accident, but it’s not clear what happened in this case.

The exact circumstances of how the vehicle caught on fire are still unknown, but a witness is claiming something strange.

Narberth Ambulance assisted the firefighters on scene and one of the EMTs posted about information that a witness reportedly shared at the scene on Reddit:

“I am an EMT and last night around 9:30 we got called to do rehab for firefighters extinguishing a car fire in Lower Merion, PA. I only have the information I got from firefighters on scene but apparently 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.”

The EMT even claimed that the authorities were still looking for the owner of the Tesla Model S.

Electrek’s Take

Electric vehicles are not known to catch on fire at a higher rate than gasoline-powered vehicles, but EV fires do get more attention in the media.

To be fair, battery fires offer different challenges for emergency services as described by the Gladwyne fire department above and the new technology attracts more attention.

In this case, the most interesting thing is that the vehicle affected appears to be a brand new Model S Plaid, which is equipped with a new battery pack from Tesla.

CEO Elon Musk even said that some of the delays in bringing the new Model S to production were linked to making sure the battery pack was “safe”.

However, let’s wait until we have more information before speculating on the cause because the circumstances are certainly strange.

Tesla vehicles can’t drive themselves without anyone inside the vehicle other than with “Smart Summon”, which is at low speed and over short distances.

At this point, I wouldn’t put anything off the table, even arson.

We will update if we get more information.

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