Shares of Tesla Motors Inc. fell $12.05 to $180.95 after one of their electric cars caught fire. The driver of the car said he thought he hit some debris and pulled over in the car to assess the damage. Once he had exited the car, he smelled burning and then the vehicle caught fire.
Fire fighters battled the flame which kept reigniting and claimed that it took several attempts to put the fire out completely. The trooper on the scene could not find any debris under or near the vehicle but Department of Transportation workers later found some near the site.
Company spokeswoman Liz Jarvis-Shean said there were no indications that the fire was caused by anything other than the crash.
“This was not a spontaneous event,” she said. “Every indication we have at this point is that the fire was a result of the collision and the damage sustained through that.”
Under normal circumstances, investigators from NHTSA, the government’s auto safety watchdog, would travel to Seattle to investigate the Tesla crash. But with the partial government shutdown, NHTSA stopped posting recall information on its website and it was unclear when or if an investigation would begin.
The Model S had previously received positive reviews. It received a top crash-test score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a tie for the highest auto test score ever recorded by Consumer Reports magazine.
Tesla even bragged that the Model S was “the safest car in America.”
Image from Wikimedia Commons.