When it rains, it pours, or in the case of Tesla, it bursts in flames.
In the same week in which a Tesla Model S erupted in flames after a “horrific” crash in Ft. Lauderdale, fatally trapping the two teenagers who died inside, while a second Model S rammed a stopped Salt Lake City firetruck at 60mph, mercifully without any fatalities, the Swiss tio.ch reports that yet another Tesla burst into flames after crashing on the A2 highway near the town of Bellinzona, killing a 48-year-old German driver who was trapped inside.
According to the Swiss publication, the driver, a 48-year-old German motorist from Baden-Wurtermberg, lost control of the vehicle a few meters after the Monte Ceneri tunnel, crashing into the central guardrail, an accident that was remarkably similar to an October 2017 crash in Austria, in which a Model S also burned down, however without any fatalities.
The car then overturned and caught fire, fatally trapping the driver.
According to the Facebook page of the Bellinzona fire department, the flames were once again started by the lithium-ion batteries after the crash. The Fire department explains that “the violent impact of Lithium Ion Batteries could probably have caused a phenomenon called “thermal runaway”, i.e, a rapid and unstoppable increase in temperature.“
It’s unclear if the car had its autopilot engaged at the moment of the crash, although now that both the NTSB and NHTSA are looking to last week’s tragic Tesla crash which killed two young men under similar circumstances, we are confident the answer will be available soon.
And yet, Matt Schwall, won’t be there the reveal it: as we reported yesterday, Schwall, the Tesla exec who until last week had been Tesla’s “primary technical contact” with both the NTSB & NHTSA, resigned quietly and moved to Tesla’s competitor Waymo. Commenting on this departure, we wondered if it suggests that the “company’s troubles with government regulators may be set to escalate.”
Judging by the trio of crashes in just one week, two of which fatal, we are willing to go on a limb here and answer “yes.”