In France, a Tesla Motors Inc Model S EV caught fire during a test drive. The U.S. electric car maker was promoting its Model S and Model X over the weekend in France as part of its ‘Electric Road Trip’ tour for the summer, Electrek reported.
No Harm To Passengers
According to the reports, a Model S 90D caught fire while a test drive. The driver heard a loud noise and saw a visual alert on the dashboard stating that there was a problem with “charging.”
The driver was able to park the car on the side of the road and all passengers – the driver, the Tesla employee and another passenger – exited the vehicle. The Model S caught on fire only a moment later, Electrek reported, citing witnesses.
Firefighters made a quick entry on the scene and were able to control the fire. The vehicle, however, was completely destroyed.
Tesla Motors has yet to make an official statement regarding the Model S fire in France. What caused the fire is still unknown.
“We are working with the authorities to establish the facts of the incident and offer our full cooperation. The passengers are all unharmed. They were able to safely exit the vehicle before the incident occurred,” a Tesla spokesperson said a prepared statement sent to Electrek.
The publication reported that this incident seems interesting and a bit different from previous instances of Tesla vehicles catching fire. In those cases, fire happened after severe impacts, especially after debris on the road punctured the battery pack at high-speed. The company was able to control those incidents by adding a titanium shield on the bottom of the battery pack.
Tesla Crashes and Autopilot Feature
Tesla has been facing lots of criticism for its crashes that were allegedly caused by its Autopilot feature.
Recently, in China, a Model S car with the Autopilot feature crashed against a parked car on the side of the road, Futurism reported. The driver, Luo Zhen who is a programmer, was driving in Beijing with the Autopilot turned on when the Tesla struck a car parked half off the road. No injuries were reported.
In response, the car maker told Reuters that the Autopilot feature was not responsible for the crash and it was the driver’s fault.
“The driver of the Tesla, whose hands were not detected on the steering wheel, did not steer to avoid the parked car and instead scraped against its side.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also stepped up its investigation of Tesla’s Autopilot system after a fatal crash. Last month, the agency released a detailed set of questions for the carmaker about its automated driving system, particularly the emergency braking function, according to a report published in New York Times.
The company says that its self-driving technology is safe if properly used.
Autopilot improvements on the way
Tesla Motors is making improvement to its Autopilot system. A leakester shared exclusive information about hardware updates that will accompany the much-expected introduction of Tesla Autopilot 8.0. The automaker will include a new triple camera mounted in the rearview mirror housing, as well as a noise generator to assist in warning pedestrians that a mostly silent Tesla electric car is approaching. The lack of a triple camera may have played a part in the crash of the Model S on May 7 that resulted in the death of driver – Joshua Brown.