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Tesla driver who settled when his car caught fire forgot to mention someone shot the battery with a gun

Published Dec 17th, 2018 2:03PM EST

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A new lawsuit clues us in on a bizarre story involving a Tesla catching fire after a bullet was fired into the car’s battery. What’s even crazier is that Tesla claims the bullet was fired from inside the passenger cabin.

Originally brought to light by Electrek, the lawsuit dates back to 2014 when a Model S owner named John Schneider claims that his car spontaneously caught fire while he was driving down the highway. After pulling over and stopping the vehicle, Schneider claimed that the car soon became engulfed in flames and ultimately destroyed the car.

In the wake of the incident, Tesla conducted its own investigation and subsequently looked at the battery pack to determine what went wrong and why. In the interim, Tesla struck a deal with Schneider whereby he would keep quiet about the fire — as to not garner any negative press — and Tesla would take care of his existing car loan and provide him with a new car.

Everything seemed to be on the up and up, that is until Tesla engineers obtained the car’s battery pack to figure out exactly what went wrong. After looking at the battery, Tesla engineers issued an official report relaying that someone fired a bullet into the battery pack from within the car, a sensational conclusion if there ever was one.

Consequently, Tesla wasn’t too thrilled about the deal it initially offered Schneider and rescinded it a few weeks later because “this material fact was not conveyed to Tesla, and Tesla relied upon the information you provided which omitted this material information.”

Tesla’s letter to Schneider reads in part:

Accordingly, Tesla will not provide you with a replacement vehicle and will return your vehicle to you excluding the bullet and relevant battery cells which it will hold and preserve as evidence of the cause of the thermal incident. DUe to Tesla’s reliance on the representation of the incident you provided, which omitted material facts. Tesla has incurred considerable expense in determining the actual cause.

In addition, Tesla is terminating the use of the loaner vehicle provided to you and requires you to immediately return it to the nearest Tesla Service Center…

Schneider naturally was none too thrilled with Tesla’s letter and a lawsuit was promptly filed against the electric automaker. Electrek notes that the case was eventually settled out of court, though terms of the settlement remain unknown at this point.

As far as Tesla stories are concerned, this one is particularly wild, and that says quite a lot. If you want to take a look at the lawsuit in full, Electrek put the entire suit up and it can be viewed over here.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.