Tesla Model S that exploded in Florida hit 185km/h before fatal crash – and battery reignited twice after removal from wreck

The car lost control, struck a wall, rebounded into another wall and erupted in flames before reigniting twice, a US government report said

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 June, 2018, 3:26am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 July, 2018, 8:22pm

A Tesla Inc. Model S driven by an 18-year-old reached a top speed of 185km/h before skidding into a wall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and bursting into flames, according to a preliminary report by US accident investigators.

And after the battery was removed from the wreck, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators said, it reignited two times.

The NTSB, which is looking into the flammability of lithium-ion battery packs for electric vehicles, released the report Tuesday on the May 8 accident that killed the driver and one of two passengers. The report didn’t contain any conclusions about causes of the crash.

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The car hit 116mph before beginning to slow as it approached a turn in the road marked by a flashing warning light with a maximum speed of 25mph, the NTSB said.

The car lost control, struck a wall, rebounded into another wall and erupted in flames, witnesses told the NTSB. The fire in the battery pack was extinguished using 200 to 300 gallons of water and foam, the NTSB said.

The report said during removal of the car from the scene, the battery reignited and was quickly extinguished. “Upon arrival at the storage yard, the battery reignited again,” the report said and was again quickly put out.

There have been other reported cases of crashed Tesla battery packs reigniting, including after a fatal Tesla crash in March in California.

The agency also is looking at a Tesla battery fire in the March 23 crash and sent a technical expert to gather information on a June 15 Tesla blaze, also in California.

Tesla declined to comment on the report, but has said its vehicles are much less likely to catch fire than gasoline-powered vehicles.