The Tesla has been a hot commodity for a while now, but on New Year’s Day, it caught on fire — literally. At a SuperCharger station in Norway yesterday, the Model S burst into flames mid-charge, leaving the vehicle completely incinerated. Thankfully, no one was injured in the blast. The car’s owner left his vehicle unattended while he went to run a few errands. The Tesla itself was not so lucky.
— NRK (@NRKno) January 1, 2016
Speaking with Norway’s VG News, a police officer affiliated with the nearby Jon Kvitnes College said, “We received notification at 2:29 p.m. that a car was on fire near a café on Brokelandsheia. We came out with the fire brigade and police, but it turned out that this car was burned out when the emergency services arrived at the scene.”
It is still unclear as to what exactly caused the fire, though the police noted that the blast damaged not only the Tesla, but the Super Charging station, as well. In a tweet later that day, officials wrote: “Not possible to fast-charge Tesla on Brokelandsheia until further notice.” An investigation of both the charger and the car are currently being carried out, and Tesla has promised an inquiry of its own (and says it “will share our findings as soon as possible”).
This isn’t the first time a Tesla has seemingly spontaneously combusted — a few years ago, a Model S infamously caught on fire while sitting in a Toronto garage, and the wall charger unit was later suggested to be responsible for the flames. According to a member of the fire brigade in Norway, fighting fires caused by electric cars is particularly challenging.
“The world renowned electric car has batteries made of lithium, a metal that is highly flammable, and that makes firefighting difficult,” said Anders Torbjørnsen. “Electric vehicle fires are fairly new for us at Agder. It is quite rare for an electric car to burn, but once it catches fire, lithium batteries make it more challenging. After a while the fire brigade brought the flames under control but the car was completely damaged,” he concluded.