This past June, a Tesla Model S spontaneously caught fire for seemingly no reason at all, an occurrence which a Tesla spokesperson later categorized as a an “extraordinarily unusual occurrence.” Now, just about two months later, another bizarre story involving a Tesla Model S catching fire has emerged.
Originally brought to light by Electrek, a Model S cruising down a New Jersey freeway caught fire after being struck by an item that fell off of a truck traveling ahead of it. Notably, the driver managed to evacuate the vehicle unscathed and before the fire actually began to envelop the car.
In a statement on the matter provided to Electrek, Tesla said:
The owner of this vehicle reported to us that his Model S collided with a large suspension component that fell from an 18-wheeler truck, causing the Model S to be partially lifted off of the road and resulting in loss of control of the vehicle. He was able to safely get himself and his possessions out of the car before there was any fire. He told us how happy he was that the car kept him safe even though the impact was so severe.
It’s worth noting that stories involving Teslas catching fire tend to attract more attention and scrutiny even though stories involving gas-powered cars becoming engulfed with flames are far more pervasive. Indeed, a National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) investigator just last month said that Teslas are not more fire-prone than other vehicles.
“We do not have an indication that Teslas are any more prone than any other electric vehicles in these sorts of events,” the investigator said. “Any vehicle, whether it’s gas-powered or electric-powered has the potential to catch fire. And when you’re looking at these very severe events, you know, bad things can happen.”
Tesla, meanwhile, has emphasized in recent months that it has more than 300,000 cars on the road and that Tesla vehicles are 10 times less likely to catch fire than gas-powered cars. This assertion has since been corroborated by both the National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Federal Highway Administration.