A Tesla vehicle spontaneously burst into flames on Santa Monica Boulevard, even though it hadn’t been in an accident or running on autopilot. BBC reports that British TV director Michael Morris was driving the electric car at the time. His wife, actress Mary McCormack, posted a tweet this week about the accident which included a video of the incident.
“No accident, out of the blue, in traffic on Santa Monica Blvd. Thank you to the kind couple who flagged him down and told him to pull over,” McCormack wrote. “And thank god my three little girls weren’t in the car with him (her husband).”
She later added that the car was not using Tesla’s autopilot feature at the time because it isn’t equipped with it.
The luxury electric vehicle manufacturer called the accident “an extraordinarily unusual occurrence,” and maintained that electric vehicles are far less likely to burst into flames than fuel-powered ones.
“We offer our support to local authorities and are glad our customer is safe,” a Tesla rep said. “This is an extraordinarily unusual occurrence, and we are investigating the incident to find out what happened.”
According to Electrek, Michael Morris’s vehicle was a Tesla Model S. They report that the battery pack caught fire. They claim that the incident may have been caused by a punctured battery pack. This can happen during an accident, but in this case, it could have been caused by the underbody colliding with some type of presumably sharp object. Electrek also states that the Michael Morris case was “reminiscent” of other Tesla Model S fires that were started when their battery packs were pierced by objects.
Tesla Model S vehicles have been known to catch fire of late. On May 10, Electrek reported that the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating a Tesla Model S crash, specifically “the emergency response in relation to the electric vehicle battery fire.”
The crash killed two teenagers who were in the car, while another teen was hospitalized. The NTSB sent four officials to Florida to investigate, but their probe focused on the reactions of the emergency personnel.
This crash followed a fatal Tesla Model X collision in the Bay Area in March. The vehicle’s battery pack caught fire after the car crashed into a median and was hit by two other cars. Electrek also reports that the battery reignited days after the incident.
As we mentioned earlier, Michael Morris is a TV director who has produced episodes of hit Netflix dramas 13 Reasons Why, Kingdom, and Bloodline. Morris has also directed episodes of House of Cards, Preacher, and Brothers and Sisters.