Brand New Tesla Plaid Model S Engulfed In Flames — What Do We Know?

Drive Tesla Canada shared the sad news of a Tesla owner of a brand new Tesla Model S Plaid. The vehicle has been destroyed in a fire in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania. Fortunately, no one was killed or injured. Also, the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Drive Tesla Canada noted that according to the Gladwyne Volunteer Fire Company, firefighters responded to the call of a vehicle fire around 9:00 pm local time on June 29, 2021. The vehicle, a black Tesla Model S Plaid was fully engulfed in flames when the crews arrived. The crews had training on Tesla vehicle fire emergencies and quickly took action. They set up a separate water line to provide a continuous stream of water on the battery — making sure the fire was completely extinguished.

The article noted that firefighters were there for over three hours and that after the fire was put out, only the front, rear, the new Arachnid wheels, and the Plaid badge were recognizable. The article also pointed out that the fire was incredibly intense to the point that battery cells were laying on the street after being released from the pack. This could have happened from the fire or the force of the water being used to extinguish the fire. One thing noted was that the cells show that the Plaid doesn’t have the 4680 battery cells.

And that’s all we know for now.

Tesla fire image courtesy of Gladwyne Volunteer Fire Company.

Tesla fire image courtesy of Gladwyne Volunteer Fire Company.

Tesla fire image courtesy of Gladwyne Volunteer Fire Company.

Tesla fire image courtesy of Gladwyne Volunteer Fire Company.

Tesla fire image courtesy of Gladwyne Volunteer Fire Company.

Exploding Batteries, Arson, or What?

Looking at the photos in the article, any observer can come to whatever conclusions they find. I think it could be vandalism of some type, but I could be wrong. It could have been the batteries or something else. It could have been an accident. We just do not know yet. This is why I titled the headline as so.

And it’s really important to emphasize the fact that we can think or assume anything in our own minds, but until we know, it’s not right to write any proclamations and write from the perspective of assuming it’s one thing or the other. The goal is to remain truthful while reporting accurately, and remember the lessons from the Houston crash that was recently all over the news and had initially been badly misreported.

Many blamed Tesla and Autopilot for a crash, and Consumer Reports even showed people how you can trick Tesla Autopilot into thinking it has a driver — something that took an incredible amount of work. The reporter was really flexible and managed to get out of the seat with the seatbelt still intact and used nag hacks to trick the car into thinking it had hands on the wheel.

I bring this up because people will go to the extremes to prove that Tesla is some evil brand that’s trying to rob and kill people — taking conspiracies and running with them.

If the batteries are proven to be the cause, Tesla will find a way to not only solve this issue and prevent future fires from happening. Samsung had an issue with exploding Galaxy Note 7 batteries, remember? Yet not only were they able to solve this, but they were able to improve their products. However, with Tesla’s extensive history with automotive batteries, a fault with the batteries seems unlikely at this stage, especially knowing they’re the same type of batteries Tesla has used for years.

If it’s something else, evidence of that will probably appear.

But until we know the actual who, what, when, where, why, and how of this story, we don’t know anything other than what was reported in Drive Tesla Canada’s article. So, let us remain level-headed and fair in our coverage and be grateful that no one was harmed from this blaze.

Context on Auto Fires

As one more point, as I’ve written before, “From 2014 through 2016, the U.S. Fire Administration noted that there were an estimated 171,500 highway vehicle fires in the U.S resulting in $1.1 billion in property losses, 1,300 injuries, and 345 deaths. Highway vehicle fires accounted for 13% of fires responded to by fire departments across the nation.”

There are a lot of car fires every day — not just every month or every year. Tesla fires get much more attention and there is often scaremongering associated with them. We assume the same will happen with this one, so decided to jump onto it ahead of time to try to remind people to stick to the facts and not forget context.

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