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Tesla Model 3 explodes on freeway

By Alex Rae, 13 Aug 2019 News

Tesla Model 3 explodes on freeway

Driver claims Autopilot was engaged before collision and spectacular explosions from Tesla Model 3

It seems that as more electric vehicles join our roads, the more we’re seeing spectacular explosions.

This latest footage of an electric vehicle in flames is Tesla’s new Model 3 detonating as a driver goes past. It also brings the spotlight back onto the debate of how safe electric vehicles really are. 

Tesla’s Model 3 exploded twice after it collided with a tow truck on a freeway in Moscow, Russia. The driver and his two children escaped with relatively minor injuries despite Russian investigators claiming the accident occurred at around 100km/h.

Read: 2019 Federal Election: The truth about electric vehicles

More spectacular are two explosions from the battery electric vehicle (BEV) afterward, possibly caused from rupturing of the lithium-ion cells which sit underneath the floor, though the exact cause is yet to be confirmed by investigators. The video was shared by Instagram user @gagorun. 

It’s not the first time we’ve seen fireworks from an electric car, with incidents from around the world showing the process to fully extinguish a BEV fire can take weeks

Read next: New electric cars arriving in Australia in 2019

Reports say the driver claims he was driving with Tesla’s Autopilot engaged, with two hands on the steering wheel but that the car crashed into a tow truck. This latest accident comes as questions are raised over a spate of accidents allegedly caused with Autopilot engaged in Tesla models.

Just last month the US’ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) added that it had contacted Tesla late last year to request it stop publicising misleading comments about the Model 3’s safety. However, the relatively minor injuries sustained in this high-speed crash suggest the five-star ANCAP rating awarded to the Model 3 in Australia are spot on.