Fire officials have said that a fatal Tesla crash that resulted in the deaths of two men may have started after a significant front end collision ignited the battery.
Dr William Varner, 59, and Everette Talbot, 69, both died when the Tesla Model S crashed into a tree and exploded into flames in Texas on April 17.
Police said it was obvious that there was no one in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash in the affluent The Woodlands neighbourhood, Houston.
On Monday, Tesla disputed police claims, saying a deformed steering wheel suggested that someone was likely in the driver’s seat.
Now the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office’s report has revealed more details as to how the flames took hold.
It also reiterates local police’s assertion that no one was in the driver’s seat. The report listed the collision as accidental.
Investigator Chris Johnson said that the fire was caused by the crash. The report didn’t note the car’s speed or whether airbags and seat belts were used.
Tesla hasn’t commented, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are both investigating.
The report says that there were indications of extensive mechanical damage caused by a front end collision, and the front end of the vehicle was in close contact with the trunk of a large tree.
It also details how the vehicle’s hood, front doors, front body panel, forward support pillars, trunk and roof were destroyed.
And according to the report, Talbot was seated in a forward-leaning posture, with both arms bent forward. Varner was in a rear leaning position, with both arms rolled back in a pugilistic stance.
It added that multiple fire patterns produced by both the movement and intensity of the fire showed that the fire started from the vehicle’s power distribution system and related components positioned at the front end of the vehicle.
Any extensive damage to the battery, the power distribution systems, or the systems associated with battery cell temp regulation could result in electrical arcing and/or thermal runaway of the lithium-ion cells, which are both a competent source of ignition.
The vehicle sustained a significant front end collision which damaged one, or many of those systems, leading to the spread of fire inside the vehicle.
The report states that it didn’t determine the specific vehicle components or systems that produced the first heat source.
And where were all the greens whining about the toxins discharged into the air by this four-hour burn, or the batteries that would be in landfills and won’t break down for hundreds of years, releasing more poisons into the ground and atmosphere?
And of course, they’d lie and say anything to keep their stocks from tanking.
People don’t just jump from the driver’ seat to the passenger’s seat after a crash so that they can perish in a fire. It’s not pragmatic, and they must believe that they’re fooling the public, but the public is not fooled, nor are they fools.
These vehicles are just mobile crematoriums, and we should be grateful that nobody else got injured, and how many more people will perish before they ultimately accept that the world isn’t ready for self-driving automobiles because the technology is woefully inadequate for all possible scenarios.
But as long as Tesla is allowed to market what’s a lane assist tech on autopilot, more people will get into accidents over misuse.