Shocking moment Tesla is engulfed by flames as firefighters battle the blaze on a busy highway
A lithium battery is believed to have sparked a fiery blaze that engulfed a luxury Tesla on a country road.
The Tesla Model 3, which costs upwards of $60,000, is understood to have caught fire when a piece of debris that fell from a truck damaged the battery shell.
Both the driver and passenger safely escaped the car on Monday night though firefighters had to douse the blaze for half an hour before it was subdued.
The electrolyte fluid reaction in lithium batteries makes them extremely hard to put out should they catch fire and they are known to spontaneously reignite up to a week later.
Fire crews had to bring in a bulk water tanker and more than 6,000litres of water was eventually used before the Tesla stopped flaming.
‘A very interesting call-out last night with our first call to an electric vehicle fire,’ Penrose Rural Fire Service said.
‘The car had hit debris from a vehicle in front of it and was well alight when Penrose Rural Fire Brigade arrived,’
The fire was on the same day as five luxury cars in a parking lot at Sydney Airport were razed after a removed lithium battery caught fire.
Lithium battery fires are becoming an increasing problem across the globe as millions of electric cars, electric bikes, e-scooters, and electric gardening tools pour into the consumer market.
In Australia last year alone there were 180 lithium battery fires reported in NSW, 120 in Victoria, 72 in Queensland and 59 in WA.
Faulty or poor quality batteries can ignite while charging but they can also catch fire when they are are not even plugged in.
Damage or harsh weather conditions such as direct sunlight or flooding can cause the pressurised electrolyte fluid to leak, which is highly flammable.
In Victoria, fire crews are responding to at least one battery-related blaze every week.
Country Fire Authority chief Garry Cook said Victorians should only purchase battery items from reputable suppliers, follow manufacturer instructions and use the compatible charger that came with the product.
‘These devices make our lives easier, however people should know the risks and make sure they use e-products correctly,’ he said.