Tesla Model X Battery Reignited Days After Fatal Crash

It has emerged that the battery pack of a Tesla Model X involved in a fatal crash in March reignited six days after being extinguished.

On March 23, a Model X driven by a 38-year-old crashed into a safety barrier on Highway 101 in California, killing the driver and destroying much of the electric SUV. As it turns out, fire authorities had an exceptionally difficult time controlling the subsequent fire.

KTVU 2 reports that fire crews initially extinguished the blaze in a couple of minutes but it then reignited multiple times over the next week.

“The battery began to overheat even though we had already cooled the battery and it continued to reignite. We don’t have the tools to deal with a battery that is completely, basically destroyed,” Mountain View Fire Chief Juan Diaz said.

“In this particular case, six days later, the temperature inside those cells increased to the point of ignition. That’s why the car reignited. You have stored energy that is frankly unstable.”

Firefighters around the world are being challenged by electric vehicles

The Tesla Model X, like many other electric vehicles, has a cut loop, or kill switch, which can be severed by fire crews to stop the flow of electricity in the battery. However, this safety device was destroyed in the California crash, leaving authorities with no way to cut the power.

Diaz says that the battery was only declared safe two weeks later after the NTSB and Tesla had de-energized it.

After the crash in California, Tesla issued a statement asserting that its vehicles are much safer from fires than ICE cars.

“Tesla battery packs are designed so that in the rare circumstance a fire occurs, it spreads slowly so that occupants have plenty of time to get out of the car. According to witnesses, that appears to be what happened here as we understand there were no occupants still in the Model X by the time the fire could have presented a risk. Serious crashes like this can result in fire regardless of the type of car, and Tesla’s billions of miles of actual driving data shows that a gas car in the United States is five times more likely to experience a fire than a Tesla vehicle.”


  • Moveon Libtards

    It just keeps getting worse for Tesla everyday…

    Much worse…

  • caddy45

    I’d really be curious what the % of crashes and % of crash fatalities occur in Tesla’s. I get the impression that they don’t happen that often (compared to conventional cars) but get a lot of media coverage and scrutiny because of the battery tech. I understand the fear of the batteries exploding/catching fire, but car fires occur in ICE cars too…

    • Jay

      One thing to consider is how many Tesla’s are on the road compared to ICE’s. I feel as though it’s in the media more because of the type vehicle it is alone. There aren’t many other all electric brands to compare to either so it’s puts them pretty high on the list. ICE cars catch fire too but they aren’t known to reignite again and again.

      • Jay

        And again…

      • Сафиуллина-Мохамед Рамазанов

        Honestly you can add to comparison all the HEV and PHEV even the Fuel cell can be added as they all have batteries

        • Jay

          They can but it’s not like the number would skyrocket up.

    • Auf Wiedersehen

      “but car fires occur in ICE cars too…”

      But not 6 days later! Battery tech has GOT to get better.

      • TheBelltower

        True. However, unlike ICE cars, EV’s don’t randomly catch fire at stoplights and in garages.

        • D3X

          If smartphones can spontaneously combust, so can EVs.

        • Auf Wiedersehen


      • Stephen G

        Solid State glass batteries are on their way. Pose no fire danger and charge in minutes. NOVA did a story “Search for the Super Battery”

        • Auf Wiedersehen

          I saw that but got the impression viable alternate batteries were some time away.

    • Dr Strangefingger

      I’m sure Musk will blame this on a days old smoldering cigarette. No worries mates!


    >Battery pack catches on fire
    >Gets extinguished
    >Gets extinguished
    >Reignites again
    >Gets extinguished
    >Reignites again

    I never knew battery packs could troll firefighters like that. I take it any EV involved in a serious crash where a fire was involved might as well have the battery pack removed just in case.

    • Сафиуллина-Мохамед Рамазанов

      Why then we didn’t hear about hybrid caught in fire this much, they also have batteries

      • Bob

        My 2006 Prius battery melted down.. It gives plenty of notice as you start to hear the pops of the cells, a sizzling sound and eventually smoke and then fire as the chemical reaction super heats.. by the way .. the Prius battery was a nickel-metal pack, not lithium. It happens…
        There is a media bias toward Tesla that leads to sensationalized stories about every Tesla crash. There are literally thousands of ICE vehicle crashes daily around the world that are never given this kind of coverage … for every 1 Tesla fatal crash or fire, there are thousands of ICE vehicle fatalities and fires.

        • Сафиуллина-Мохамед Рамазанов

          I had ’08 GS450h but thanks God I didn’t face this

  • TrevP

    That scares me a little bit. I totally know why people want to own one. I want one myself, but reigniting days after is so dangerous.

    • Stephen G

      Safer than my Ford Pinto for sure!

  • Surely China should have the answers to these considering they have the most EV’s and would consequently encountered more of these incidents. Their EMS authorities probably have the most experience

  • Stephen G

    Why do we feel that we need to extinguish the fire? If the occupants have been extracted and the location doesn’t pose a greater danger, let it burn. Why waste additional resources. I would imagine that a crashed car that is partially burned isn’t more valuable than one burned completely.

  • Six_Tymes

    lithium fires

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