Tesla Model S driver crashes and dies in fire, responders couldn’t open doors

After crossing three lanes of traffic at high speed, a 2016 Tesla Model S crashed into palm trees and burst into flame on Sunday, according to reports. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene in Davie, Florida.

According to Davie police spokesperson Vivian Gallinal, the driver appeared to overcorrect and lose control before entering the median and hitting the trees. Gallinal also said a police officer was unable to get the driver out after the officer failed to break the car’s windows.

Witness said the Tesla’s airbags didn’t deflate after the crash and the car’s electronic exterior door handles did not deploy. According to the current Tesla Model S owner’s manual, when the car’s airbags inflate, the exterior door handles are supposed to extend.

The Davie fire department put out the fire. According to police reports, the Model S starting burning again while being transported away from the crash site and again at 5 a.m. Monday morning at the tow yard. The Tesla’s battery was ruptured, Gallinal said.

The Tesla Model S uses a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery. Electric cars that use lithium batteries are generally safe, but if a battery is damaged or defective, lithium can explode or catch fire when it comes in contact with water or water vapor in the air. Reports of battery-related fires in Tesla sedans, though rare, were reported as early as 2013.

In response to last weekend’s fire, Tesla gave the following statement after Autoblog asked for comment: “We are deeply saddened by this accident and our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragedy. We have reached out to the local authorities to offer our cooperation. We understand that speed is being investigated as a factor in this crash, and know that high-speed collisions can result in a fire in any type of car, not just electric vehicles.”

Lithium-ion batteries are currently the most common type of battery used in all-electric vehicles, but that may change in the future. Researchers at the University of Waterloo are developing lithium metal batteries that use a phosphorus-sulfur compound that coats the inside of the lithium to prevent contact with water.

Electric cars don’t have a lock on lithium-ion fires. Soon after it launched in 2017, Samsung’s Note 7 was quickly banned from commercial aircraft and pulled from the market following multiple reports of exploding and burning phones.

We’ve also written about incidents in which lithium-ion batteries exploded or burned in cameras, iPhones, and most recently vape pens.  Last year we reported on fires in landfills and waste centers caused by discarded lithium-ion batteries and gadgets containing the power cells.


Fisker plans sub-$40,000 electric SUV with 300 miles of range for 2021

Fisker Inc. plans to launch an electric SUV with a base price of under $40,000, and a range of around 300 miles in 2021. The unnamed vehicle could compete with the Tesla Model Y, if it ever gets into production.

Can electric cars be S3XY? Tesla says yes with the new Model Y crossover

Tesla introduced a crossover named Model Y at its design studio in Los Angeles. It's a more spacious alternative to the Model 3 it shares 75 percent of its parts with, and is a smaller sibling to the Model X.

James Bond may ditch his V12 Aston Martin for electric power, report says

James Bond may take the wheel of an electric car in the next 007 movie, reports British newspaper The Sun. The car in question would be the Aston Martin Rapide E, the British automaker's first all-electric model.

Check to see if your Honda or Acura vehicle is part of the latest Takata recall

Honda has recalled more than a million vehicles in the U.S. that contain faulty and potentially lethal Takata airbag inflators. The notice is part of an ongoing recall by 19 automakers that affects tens of millions of vehicles.

Sibling rivalry: The Tesla Model Y takes on the Tesla Model 3

Tesla expanded its lineup with a fourth car named Model Y. It's an electric crossover positioned as a more spacious alternative to the Model 3. The two cars share about 75 percent of their components, but they're aimed at different buyers.

Adventurous and electric, Porsche’s second station wagon will arrive in 2020

The Mission E Cross Turismo concept Porsche unveiled during the 2018 Geneva Auto Show will morph into a production model tentatively named Taycan Cross Turismo. This 600-horsepower electric station wagon will arrive in showrooms by 2021.

Automakers are spending billions on self-driving technology people are afraid of

Automakers are spending billions of dollars on developing the technology that will power self-driving cars, but research shows consumers have no interest in giving up control. Will they ever recoup their investment?

Mustang-like and electrified. What did Ford just show a preview of?

Ford posted an enigmatic picture of a blue Mustang emblem on a black background right as Tesla prepared to introduce the Model Y. Is the Blue Oval teasing a hybrid Mustang, or is it previewing a Mustang-inspired, battery-powered crossover?

Amazon and Kia team up to simplify EV home-charging station installs

Kia Motors announced a new program with Amazon for electric vehicles. Customers planning to purchase a new Kia EV or PHEV can check out recommended Level 2 240-volt home charging stations and arrange installation in their homes.

Unrestrained by heritage, Polestar sets its sights on becoming a digital brand

With no heritage to worry about, Polestar is free to move full-speed ahead towards its goal of becoming a digital brand. All of the company's upcoming models will be electric, and they will inaugurate an Android-powered infotainment system.

Audi’s traffic light information system shows the challenges facing V2X tech

Audi’s traffic light information system is among the first commercial applications of potentially game-changing V2X tech. So how does it work in the real world? We spent a few days getting stuck at red lights to find out.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Tesla gives us a cryptic look at its cyberpunk, Blade Runner-inspired pickup

Tesla has started designing its long-promised pickup truck. The yet-unnamed model will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and lots of torque, plus it will be able to park itself. It could make its debut in 2019.

2020 Cadillac CT5 luxury sedan gets turbocharged power, chiseled looks

The 2020 Cadillac CT5 replaces the CTS in the General Motors luxury brand's lineup. Cadillac will unveil the CT5 at the 2019 New York Auto Show in April. Until then, it's keeping most details under wraps.