By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer
Earlier last week, a man crashed his Tesla Model S – a luxury electric vehicle – into a metal object! As if that wasn’t terrible enough, the violent impact caused the car’s battery to catch on fire. By chance, the flaming wreck was caught on tape and posted online, where the video went viral (became popular very quickly).
As the negative images spread across the internet, Tesla Motors began to lose money from both customers and people who invest in the company. Tesla CEO and master inventor, Elon Musk, knew he had to take control of the situation. That’s why he decided to lay out the real facts, reminding everyone that this was just a once-in-a-lifetime accident and that it could have been much worse in a regular gas-powered vehicle.
As Musk explained, the only reason the battery caught on fire was because its protective casing was punctured. Apparently, it has such a tough outer covering, it’s amazing it was even pierced in the first place. In order for an object to get through the solid battery shell, it needs to be hit with a force of 25 tons! Since just one ton is equal to 2,000 pounds, he’s basically saying it needed to be rammed by power equal to 50,000 pounds smashing into it. Geez, how fast was this guy driving again?
The hard battery shell isn’t the only line of defense, either, because it’s safely tucked behind a firewall that shields the driver from dangerous flames. In fact, that’s why only the front of the car was on fire. During the accident shown in the video, the driver was assisted by the car’s voice commands telling him to stop and get out, and he managed to get away totally uninjured!
While it’s pretty clear this was a freak accident, it’s equally obvious that the technology was fully prepared to handle it. Musk says that the accident could have been a lot worse if the man was driving a car that ran on gas instead of a luxury vehicle with the highest safety ratings ever. “For consumers concerned about fire risk, there should be absolutely zero doubt that it is safer to power a car with a battery than a large tank of highly flammable liquid,” explains Musk.
Featured image courtesy of Steve Jurvetson on Flickr. Image of burning Tesla courtesy of Aj Gill on YouTube.