Tesla shares plummeted 6.2 percent on Wednesday, shedding $12.05 from a $192 opening price. Shares have dipped to as low as $168 in today's trading.
The motorist hit debris that damaged the battery back, triggering the blaze, a Tesla spokeswoman said according to a New York Times report.
Tesla's Elizabeth Jarvis-Shean told the New York Times that the fire was caused by “direct impact of a large metallic object to one of the 16 modules within the Model S battery pack.
“Because each module within the battery pack is, by design, isolated by fire barriers to limit any potential damage, the fire in the battery pack was contained to a small section in the front of the vehicle.”
Firefighters arriving on the scene who initially thought they'd extinguished the blaze said it reignited under the vehicle shortly afterwards, the report said.
Capt. Kyle Ohashi of the Kent Fire Department Regional Fire
Authority said that extinguishing the battery pack was no easy task,
the report said.
The video, which first appeared on the car enthusiast website Jalpnik, shows the front of the vehicle fully engulfed in flames. “That’s a Tesla, dude,” a passenger in the vehicle from which the video was captured is heard saying during the clip.
The motorist told authorities he believed he'd hit some debris that triggered the blaze, but a Washington state trooper who responded to the scene didn't find any objects on the highway, USA Today reports.