Tesla says it is investigating an incident in which a Tesla Model S belonging to the husband of actress Mary McCormack caught fire on a Los Angeles street.
In a statement to the media, a Tesla spokesperson called it “an extraordinarily unusual occurrence.” The company said an initial investigation shows the fire started in the battery and did not affect the vehicle's cabin.
McCormack, best known to viewers for her role on the TV series “West Wing,” is married to British director and producer Michael Morris. She posted the video below on Twitter, catapulting the incident into the headlines over the weekend.
McCormack says her husband was barely moving in traffic when pedestrians flagged him down and said smoke was coming from under the hood.
"No accident, out of the blue, in traffic on Santa Monica Blvd.,” McCormack wrote in a tweet.
“While our customer had time to safely exit the car, we are working to understand the cause of the fire,” the Tesla spokesperson said. “We’re glad our customer is safe."
It's just the latest piece of unwelcome attention for the electric car company, which has been in focus due to a couple of fatal accidents involving its Autopilot feature. Tesla has stressed that drivers using that feature must always keep their hands on the wheel.
In the latest crash, in Mountain View, California, the driver was shown to have his hands off the steering wheel at least six seconds before the car plowed into a highway divider.
The company has also been plagued by production delays. It has struggled to meet demand for the Tesla Model 3, its lowest-priced vehicle. CEO Elon Musk, in an email to the staff, has accused an unnamed employee of sabotage.
Musk said the employee made coding changes to the manufacturing operating system, claiming the rogue employee was motivated by revenge for not getting a desired promotion.
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