When a Tesla Model S caught fire after crashing into some road debris in Washington State earlier this month, company officials stressed that it was the first and only known Model S fire on a public road. But after a crash in Mexico, we can add one more to that list.
The crash occurred in the Yucatán city of Mérida. In news first broken in the English-speaking world by Axis of Oversteer this weekend, Mexican newspaper Progreso Hoy reported on Oct. 18 that the Tesla sped into a roundabout, struck a wall and then crashed into another wall in a private residence before hitting a tree. The driver, whom Diario de Yucatán also reports was under the influence of alcohol, fled the scene.
Onlookers caught video of the fire and subsequent explosions that occurred after the crash. Towards the end it shows firefighters working to extinguish the blaze.
Will this fire spark another PR crisis for Tesla like the last one? As Musk himself said in an interview with Bloomberg recently, gasoline-powered cars catch fire after crashes all the time. In addition, it's not like the cars are catching fire spontaneously on the road. So far both have happened after wrecks, which is understandable.
But as Justin Hyde over at Yahoo! Autos points out, electric cars can be trickier for firefighters to put out, and the Model S is still enough of a novelty that these events could continue to be newsworthy if they continue to happen.
I reached out to Tesla for a comment and will update when they get back with us.
Update: Here's a statement from a Tesla spokeswoman, who says the crash did not put the owner off of Model S ownership.
“We were able to contact the driver quickly and are pleased that he is safe. This was a significant accident where the car was traveling at such a high speed that it smashed through a concrete wall and then hit a large tree, yet the driver walked away from the car with no permanent injury. He is appreciative of the safety and performance of the car and has asked if we can expedite delivery of his next Model S.”
Photo credit Progreso Hoy