Tesla Eager to Study Stolen Model S Split in Crash

Jul 06, 2014 6:47 pm ET

(Corrects date in next-to-last paragraph.)

July 6 (Bloomberg) -- Tesla Motors Inc., the electric-car maker, said it wants to study the remnants of a stolen Model S sedan that split in half and burned after a high-speed chase and collision in Los Angeles.

The company led by Elon Musk is working with Los Angeles police and fire officials investigating the incident that began early July 4 when an unidentified man stole the Tesla and led police on a high-speed chase. He later collided with several vehicles in West Hollywood and split the car into two parts when he crashed into a lightpole, triggering a battery fire, according to police reports. He was injured in the incident and was taken into custody.

“We’ve asked to take a look at the vehicle as soon as that’s possible,” Simon Sproule, a company spokesman, said in a phone interview. “There aren’t so many S’s involved in major crashes, and certainly not quite like this one, so we absolutely want to have a look to understand what happened.”

The Palo Alto, California-based company’s Model S, priced from $71,000, has a five-star rating for crashworthiness, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s highest designation. Tesla added a titanium plate in March to further strengthen the casing that protects its lithium-ion battery after NHTSA reviewed crashes that triggered Model S fires.

This week’s Model S theft happened at a “dealership in the 5800 block of Centinela Ave.” in western Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reported July 4, citing Los Angeles police officer Christopher No. Tesla has a service center at 5840 W. Centinela.

Tesla shares were little changed at $229.25 in New York on July 3 and have risen 52 percent this year. U.S. markets were closed July 4 for the Independence Day holiday.