A Tesla Model S Plaid electric car worth $129,900 suddenly caught fire on Tuesday while the owner was driving, just three days after the car was delivered to the owner.
The driver, identified as an “executive businessman,” was initially unable to get out of the car because his electronic door system failed, prompting the driver to “use force to push him,” said Mark Geragos of Geragos & Geragos. on Friday.
The car continued to move for about 35 feet to 40 feet (11 to 12 meters) before turning into a “fireball” in a residential area near the owner’s home in Pennsylvania.
“It was a harrowing and horrifying experience,” said Geragos.
“This is an entirely new model.. We are doing an investigation. We’re asking for the S Plaid to be grounded, not on the road until we get to the bottom of it,” he said.
Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk praised the performance version of his Model S sedan as being “faster than any Porsche, safer than any Volvo” at a launch event at the automaker’s factory in Fremont, California, last month.
In early April, he said the new Model S sedan and Model X sport utility vehicle had a new battery.
“It took a bit of development to make sure the new S/X’s battery is safe,” Musk said in a conference call, addressing production delays. “There were more challenges than expected in developing the new version.”
In a now-deleted Facebook post, local firefighters said that “a Tesla was on fire” and that they cooled “the batteries to ensure complete extinction”.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it is “in contact with the relevant agencies and the manufacturer to gather information about the incident.”
“If data or investigations show an inherent security defect or risk, the NHTSA will take appropriate steps to protect the public,” the federal security agency said.