August 16, 2016 / 3:12 PM / 2 years ago

Tesla cooperating with French authorities investigating car fire

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Tesla Motors (TSLA.O) is cooperating with French local authorities investigating a fire involving one of its Model S cars during a test drive in Biarritz, it said on Tuesday.

A Tesla logo adorns a 'Model S' car in the dealership in Berlin, Germany, November 18, 2015. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke - RTS7VPF

“We are working with the authorities to establish the facts of the incident and offer our full cooperation. The passengers are all unharmed,” a Tesla spokesman said, adding that passengers were able to get out of the car, a Model S 90 D, safely before the fire.

The incident happened during a test drive event organized by Tesla in France, the spokesman said.

In 2013, Tesla’s shares fell sharply after images emerged of a Model S catching fire after a driver struck a large metal object that punctured a cover protecting the lithium-ion battery.

Lithium-ion batteries are vulnerable to catching fire if damaged.

Overall the Model S is seen as a safe vehicle. It has won a five-star safety rating from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in every testing category. The Model S also has the highest rating given by influential magazine Consumer Reports, with a score of 99 out of 100 points.

Reporting by Edward Taylor and Tina Bellon; editing by Susan Thomas

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