A brand new Tesla Model S abruptly caught fire while prospective buyers were test-driving it as part of a promotional event organized by the company. A low-resolution photo of the car burning to the ground was published earlier today on Reddit by a user who received it via WhatsApp.
3dkSdkvDskReddit, the user who posted the picture, explains that the incident took place in Biarritz, a large city located in southwestern France. A couple test-driving the car with a Tesla saleswoman on board suddenly heard a loud noise, though they claim that it wasn’t an explosion. They kept driving, but the saleswoman asked them to pull over a few moments later when the S began displaying a “problem with charging” error message. The sedan unexpectedly burst into flames about a minute later.
Thankfully, the three occupants walked away from the car without injury. The local fire department arrived promptly to put out the fire, but the S — a high-end 90D model — was almost completely destroyed, according to website Teslarati.
Tesla is aware of the incident, and it has already opened an investigation to find the cause of the fire, but it hasn’t come to a conclusion yet.
“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 company spokesperson said in an email sent to Digital Trends.
We’ll update this developing story as soon as more information becomes available.
A series of highly-publicized Model S fires took place about three years ago. The company investigated the incidents and concluded that roadside debris could puncture the battery pack, which is located right under the passenger compartment, and increase the risk of a fire. It fixed the issue by protecting the battery with a triple underbody shield made out of titanium.