Impaled battery caused blaze, Tesla says

SEATTLE — The CEO of electric car company Tesla says a battery in a Model S that caught fire this week was apparently impaled by a metal object.

Elon Musk gave more detail in a blog post Friday about the fire that became an Internet sensation and unsettled Tesla investors. He also defended the car’s battery technology.

Musk wrote in a blog post Friday that fires are more common in conventional gas-powered vehicles.

“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,” Musk wrote.

The CEO said a curved metal component was apparently the culprit in causing a Tesla to catch on fire Tuesday. He says the object’s shape led to a powerful hit on the underside of the vehicle, punching a 3-inch hole through an armor plate that protects the car’s bottom.

The company said the car properly contained the blaze. The driver was able to exit the highway in the Seattle suburb of Kent before flames engulfed the front of the vehicle.

Of the estimated 194,000 vehicle fires in the U.S. each year, the vast majority are in cars and trucks with gasoline or diesel engines. Electric vehicles make up less than 1 percent of the cars sold in the U.S.

Firefighters struggled to extinguish the Tesla fire, finding that the flames reignited. Crews found that water seemed to intensify the fire, so they began using a dry chemical extinguisher.

After dismantling the front end of the vehicle and puncturing holes in the battery pack, responders used a circular saw to cut an access hole in the front section to apply water to the battery, according to documents. Only then was the fire extinguished.

Tesla shares fell sharply Wednesday and Thursday after a video of the car fire circulated on the Internet. The shares recovered somewhat Friday, rising $7.67, or 4.4 percent, to $180.98. They still finished the week with a loss of $9.92, or 5.2 percent. The shares are still up more about 400 percent.

More in Business

Newest must-try eatery: 85°C Bakery Cafe in Lynnwood

The popular bakery, part of a Taiwan-based chain, is already drawing out-the-door crowds.

Trudeau: Canada could stop dealing with Boeing over dispute

Boeing had petitioned the U.S. to investigate government subsidies of Bombardier’s CSeries aircraft.

Toys ‘R’ Us files for bankruptcy but keeps stores open

Retailers of all kinds are struggling. Toys ‘R’ Us is among at least 18 other bankruptcies this year.

Marysville-Arlington fiber-optic link planned by Comcast

The high-speed internet line, to be ready next year, is seen as a boost for business development.

‘Cheese that was grass 24 hours ago’ wins a farm accolades

Ferndale Farmstead specializes in authentic Italian cheeses — made with with American milk.

Snohomish County Business Licenses

PLEASE NOTE: Business license information is obtained monthly from the Washington Secretary… Continue reading

Coastal Community adds business relationship manager

Coastal Community Bank has hired Corbin Resseguie as a business relationship manager… Continue reading

Operation School Bell celebrates 52 years of service

On Sept. 20, Operation School Bell celebrates 52 years of service. Operated… Continue reading

Aerospace supplier MTorres consolidates into Everett site

Aerospace supplier MTorres has relocated into a 60,000 square-foot building in southwest… Continue reading

Most Read