Automatic alerts warned the driver to pull over, the statement said, and the fire began only after the driver was out of the vehicle. The fire eventually consumed much of the vehicle's front end.
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"All indications are that the fire never entered the interior cabin of the car," Tesla said in its statement. "It was extinguished on-site by the fire department."
The Model S is a fully electric car with its battery pack housed in the floor of the vehicle. Tesla said the fire started when the metallic object directly hit 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," a spokeswoman said.