Tesla Battery Cells Explode Like Fireworks In Video Of Fatal Crash

Yesterday we saw the first videos of a fatal crash of a Tesla Model S in downtown Indianapolis. We had read reports that firefighters had to dodge individual battery cells exploding out of the car’s burning lithium-ion batter pack. Now you can see them, indeed, shooting like fireworks.


Tesla was cited by the Associated Press that it did not believe that Autopilot was a factor in the crash that killed its two occupants, which appears to have been a high-speed wreck.

It was mentioned last night to us by a tipster that more video explicitly showing the batteries exploding around first responders was floating around, but we didn’t find it last night. Only this morning did the AP repost local RTV6 News’ video with 143 views:

Certainly regular fires in ordinary gasoline-powered cars are terrifying and destructive, but this is some of the first we’re seeing of how violent a large lithium-ion battery pack failure is.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.


Kinpolaj 3000

I recall a similar story on Jalopnik in 1892 when a steam powered car crashed and blew up and painfully scolded dozens, then again in 1912 when a gas powered car blew up in a giant fireball after hitting a mule team and diving off the road. And here we are in 2016 watching a video of super dense batteries exploding. I think the trend is that if you compress energy in a compact package and then the energy rapidly escapes that package, you are going to get some spectacular pictures. Or etchings if it is back in 1892.