But... batteries are packed into the whole of the floor!
I recently looked at a Tesla in a showroom that was in a mall in the US. They had a car in there, and a bare rolling chassis, along with samples of the batteries used. The whole of the floorpan is packed with small, almost 16550-size, batteries. Literally thousands of 'em.
Beautiful car. Brilliantly practical packaging, and if the supercharger network takes off the range becomes a non-issue if you can charge in 20 minutes. (Full charge on standard plug would take 3 days IIRC...). The interior is fantastic, and the centre console is a really good rethink. I would be seriously tempted by one, despite being a fully paid up petrolhead.
I asked what would happen with batteries in a fire, and was told that they're practically inert. I did think that was a little odd. I asked what happened if they needed to change a faulty battery unit, and was told they don't fail. As I've got an expoded Macbook pro battery on my desk next to me, I have doubts.
If Tesla is trying to say this happened at the front where the battery is located, something doesn't add up. The batteries are packed into the floor, front to back, on the Tesla S. The batteries are *everywhere*.
I suppose the fact the fire was somewhat contained means they have managed to isolate things, but this is icky nasty stuff that's burning. Mind you, so are fossil fuels, but we're better at managing fires involving those after years of experience...
I'll definitely be watching to see how TEsla handle this. Honesty is paramount, and the 'where the batteries are' line doesn't sit at all well with what Tesla say, and what I saw.