Automobiles can be dangerous objects, especially when moving at highway speeds. The July 4th holiday in the US, which took place this past weekend, is often an extra-dangerous time on America's roads, with an average of 127 deaths from car crashes in recent years. This year, there were at least two Tesla Model S crashes over the holiday, and despite a spectacular fire in one of the incidents, both of the drivers survived the incidents.

"We absolutely want to have a look to understand what happened." – Tesla spokesman Simon Sproule

The most dramatic crash happened when a Model S was apparently stolen and taken for a joy ride. Tesla told Bloomberg that the company is eager to take a closer look at what's left of the crashed vehicle, which snapped in half. "There aren't so many S's involved in major crashes, and certainly not quite like this one, so we absolutely want to have a look to understand what happened," said Tesla spokesman Simon Sproule. Tesla spokesperson Liz Jarvis-Shean told AutoblogGreen that, "We're working with relevant authorities and will be examining the car as we would with any accident."

What isn't yet clear is how the reported thief was able to drive the stolen Model S (Tesla has not yet responded to our questions on this front). Media reports say it was someone at the Tesla store who reported the theft to police as it was happening, so it would seem that Tesla knew about the incident well before the crash. Whether there enough time to tell the police where the car was going or to deactivate the car is unknown.

In another tragic crash that happened this weekend, a Model S rear ended a Toyota Corolla. Three of the occupants of the Toyota were killed but the Tesla driver only suffered "minor injuries," according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Model S received five stars in the NHTSA's crash tests and has had safety improvements since those tests were conducted. Previous Tesla's have caught fire but no serious injuries have been reported.


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  • 126 Comments
      Alan Dean Foster
      • 5 Months Ago
      "At least" two crashes? No, there were only two. Why so provocative? "Whether there enough time to tell the police where the car was going or to deactivate the car is unknown." Uh, no...I think it is known.
        mxpie6
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Alan Dean Foster
        ya, this blog has no real integrity
        Grendal
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Alan Dean Foster
        It seems that the questions are just random questions. "Whether aliens are involved in this theft has yet to be determined." "There is some question whether the driver had eaten a meal prior to the accident." "One witness believes the driver was wearing a blue shirt." "The police have yet to determine whether wearing a blue shirt had an impact on this accident." Yeesh.
      joe shmoe
      • 5 Months Ago
      Can any car survive an 80mph crash into a pole?
      Bernard
      • 5 Months Ago
      Media: Car driving 100mph crashes, splits in half, and catches on fire. People: Wow, what a maniac. Media: Fire, it caught on fire! People: ... Media: It was a Tesla. People: OMG, I don't know what that is but it sounds dangerous!
      reattadudes
      • 5 Months Ago
      since we seem to have a plethora of Tesla groupies here, perhaps you can explain to me exactly how one would "start" a Tesla, being that an actual physical "key" is sooo 20th century.. being the total Luddite I am, I'm assuming you somehow "sign on" with the touchscreen in some manner...perhaps retina recognition? if that is indeed the case, it sounds like an inside job to me. how on earth, if the timeline of the events IS correct, why didn't the Tesla "service center" immediately disable the vehicle online?
        Joeviocoe
        • 5 Months Ago
        @reattadudes
        Um... they broke into the service center and stole a keyfob... And too many nutjobs like yourself are privacy nuts that would persecute Tesla for allowing the car to be "hackable" and causing accidents by remote shutting down Tesla on the highway.
          reattadudes
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          "privacy nuts like myself?" what on earth did I say to indicate that?? you mean shutting down like OnStar does? I have ZERO doubt that Tesla does indeed have this technology to shut the car down while in motion, and it looks like a shutdown would have prevented a lot of damage.
        EVSUPERHERO
        • 5 Months Ago
        @reattadudes
        To answer your question reattadudes, you must have the fob within three feet of the car. If the fob is present the driver enters the car, instead of turning a ignition key you simply put your foot on the foot brake next to the accelerator pedal, this does not start the car because it does not have a starter. Putting your foot on the brake energizes the car so to speak. After energizing the car you put the gear selector in drive or reverse and drive as normal.
        jeff
        • 5 Months Ago
        @reattadudes
        Steal the fob...
      Jason
      • 5 Months Ago
      Break just about any car in half at a high rate of speed, and guess what FIRE!
      Lillee
      • 5 Months Ago
      Oh no! A Tesla caught fire after a crash at over 100mhp? Never mind that they are unsafe, they are to blame for global warming, surely!
      Grendal
      • 5 Months Ago
      What a provocative headline! On reading the actual article you could say that there are questions surrounding any and all accidents - period.
        Joeviocoe
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Grendal
        Equivalent to Fox News' patented "Some have said" accusations.
        ElectricAvenue
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Grendal
        Exactly. These are slimy tactics. I'll demonstrate how easy it is (no insult intended, I actually have a high regard for Grendal's posts). There are questions about the motivations for Grendal posting. Grendal's credibility has been questioned. (Or if it hasn't, well... I wonder about Grendal's credibility. There, now it has been questioned.)
      Avinash Machado
      • 5 Months Ago
      The Tesla bashing never stops.
        Car Guy
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Avinash Machado
        As the Hummer became an object of hatred from the left so the Tesla is the same to the right..........
          Joeviocoe
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Car Guy
          @ Db --". I am "to the right" and I love what Tesla" --"One-sided characterizations are for kids." It is a bit of a generalization... but still an accurate one. I am glad you like Tesla, but you are a bit of a minority unfortunately. Most conservatives have had a steady stream of Tesla FUD rolling off the conservative media assembly line for years.... so it will take some time.
          jeff
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Car Guy
          Why would the "Right" hate Tesla????? The are an AMERICAN car company. They Paid back their loan with interest. What exactly does the "Right" have to whine about....??? P.S. I personally know 5 Model S owners. THey are ALL republicans...
          DarylMc
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Car Guy
          I didn't mean to offend the conservatives and certainly not people who have bought a Tesla but it is the general vibe I get from media stories too. Put it this way, if someone claimed liberals like hummers and conservatives like Tesla's what would you think?
          DarylMc
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Car Guy
          I think your assessment is right but it's hard for me to understand how a land boat like the Hummer could ever attract any love for city use.
          DarylMc
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Car Guy
          I take the point though. No need to perpetuate silliness. So enjoy your Tesla's or Hummers as it may be.
          Db
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Car Guy
          You are wrong... I am "to the right" and I love what Tesla is doing. One-sided characterizations are for kids. Time to grow up, Car Guy.
          Car Guy
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Car Guy
          I'm very far right and appreciate the technology Tesla brings to the market. I stand by my analogy. Most conservatives loathe Tesla not because of the car itself but because it represents the 0bama agenda and the fact he's picked EVs as the "winner" while given them a disproportionate advantage and not allowing the market to choose what alternative technologies will benefit people.
          Joeviocoe
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Car Guy
          Like I said, Fox News has painted Tesla with the Obama brush, so now conservatives link the company with him. There is a huge propaganda machine at work,... And you can see its effectiveness in the comments people write (parroted verbatim from Fox)
          jeff
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Car Guy
          That Guy, That is 100% NONSENSE... Tesla was started when Bush Jr was president. The loan program and the Federal tax credit was started when Bush Jr was president.... PLEASE EXPLAIN how this has ANYTHING to do with Obama??????
      chargefan
      • 5 Months Ago
      Alot of the articles leaves out the fact that the Corolla caught on fire. It was a 2005 model too so not that old, very sad news.
      Smoking_dude
      • 5 Months Ago
      Even if I am driving a relatively safe car, it can't defy the laws of physics. One error at 100 to 130 mph, even by an other driver can lead to a fatal accident or I end up crippled. That is the reason why I don't take advantage of the free speed limit on the german autobahn anymore. to safe 15 minutes? not worth it. I have seen enough sh*t happening there. to me it appears that the model s is extremely robust and well made. the thieves survived. The forces were great enough to rip the massive underbody to pieces. what do analysts and journalists expect. A MINOR DENT? meanwhile the first France and Sweden superchargers are ONLINE!. Germany has now 10 Superchargers, Norway has been upgraded and also Denmark has 3 Chargers. No one of those clever analysts noticed...
      scott3
      • 5 Months Ago
      There is some reality here to deal with that is not Tesla love or bashing. The car should not have broken in half but at these speeds these things are not tested till it happens. The guy surviving was more luck than the car protecting him as if the pole had hit a few feet forward it would have not mattered. If there was anyone in back they would have been killed. The thing here is we all need to learn here what cases the battery to catch Fire and look for ways to prevent it in the future not only here but all electric batteries. Death is something that is only a matter of time to happen so get over it. People can do some really stupid things and no matter the car the potential is there and it will happen. All cars today are pretty much safe and most have 5 stars. Now with so many fewer cars the less chance it may happen. But in time it will happen. It is time for the haters and lovers of the Tesla to step back and realizer that one this car is not all that different than most cars outside the drive line and the haters need to get a grip that it is not a bad car. We have two camps here that are just making this car out to be more or less than it really is. Good God if this was a Chevy Volt the media would have crucified GM over it already and tied in a Ignition issue some how. People live and die and cars crash. You can only so much to prevent the loss but it can and will happen as it is pure physics and the fact if it can be crashed someone will find a way to do it fatally. As for how it was stolen., nothing is theft proof. Let them investigate this an let some of the facts get in the way. Then if they do find an issue let Tesla fix it. Yes they can have short comings just as any other MFG and how they react is more Important than the issue.
        jeff
        • 5 Months Ago
        @scott3
        Scott, Google "Car torn in half" you will see HUNDREDS of examples of all makes getting torn in half in accidents like this... (Many caught fire) The car DID assorbe a lot of the impact or he would be dead. So it's design DID help to prevent his death.
        DarylMc
        • 5 Months Ago
        @scott3
        Hi scott3 Any car would break in half in this crash. It's not at all surprising. The ensuing fire is not totally unexpected and fortunately did not not appear to injure anyone. What manufacturers have the ability to do right now is to use some of the technology in these vehicles to prevent them from doing 100mph on a city street. That would be the responsible thing to do and an impressive safety feature.
          DarylMc
          • 5 Months Ago
          @DarylMc
          Hi Joeviocoe If they did bring something like that out would be a market first as far as I can tell. It's not just Tesla that makes vehicles which can do silly speeds in built up areas but I like the company and think it would be a good move for them to prevent it.
          Joeviocoe
          • 5 Months Ago
          @DarylMc
          @ DarylMc --"to prevent them from doing 100mph on a city street" Let's keep an eye out for Tesla's upcoming "Autopilot" system which may have something similar.
          Grendal
          • 5 Months Ago
          @DarylMc
          I like the idea of a limited capability mode that service centers and owners can use when they are charging or working on the car. Even if you have the fob it can only be switched back by an owner's/service center code. That can prevent an opportunity theft of the fob.
        Joeviocoe
        • 5 Months Ago
        @scott3
        @ scott3 --"should not have broken in half" Actually... yes, it should. At 100 mph and over 4500 lbs.... that amount of energy WILL break apart most of the time. --"As for how it was stolen" Right, nothing is theft proof because the key fob can always be stolen. Don't get distracted with "love" or "hate"... it is just an attempt to make this discussion into a polarized fight. Autoblog Comments Enhancer (ACE) v0.9.6 - bit.ly/Autoblog_Comments
      johnnythemoney
      • 5 Months Ago
      I don't understand the point in reporting the second accident. Do you report it every time a model is involved in more than one accident at a given day? Do you report all accidents involving the loss of life? I can understand the buzz around the first crash. Theft, riding shotgun, spectacular car and then the flames (because fuel would have been so much better indeed...). I find it ignorant from the general media to point the finger to the batteries as being the worst problem here, not the thief driving at triple digit speed downtown. He injured many people, not the fire. Maybe if there was fuel spilled from a ruptured tank it would have been much worse, or maybe not. Irrelevant as the problem here should be the usual "how can we stop people from doing this sort of completely stupid things without ramming them and risking even more". If anything, electric cars could be indeed disabled via remote if we were to accept such a level of control from the authorities. Sure the guy would start coasting and maybe crash, and even assuming the place where the car was disabled wasn't the safest ever, it could still be better than crashing at full speed. I like Tesla for what they are doing, but I know they need to do much more to convince everyone to judge them as a car company and not as an "electric" car company. This piece of article shows just that.
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