Tesla Model S Fires Under NHTSA Investigation

Tesla Model S fire 1 photo
Photo: Tesla forums
The Tesla Model S all-electric sedan is being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) over potential fire risks “associated with undercarriage strikes”, the agency announced today.
The investigation was prompted by the three Tesla fires that have occurred the past six weeks, two of which happened in the United States and one in Mexico. Earlier this week, Elon Musk said Tesla Motors asked the NHTSA to open an probe on its EV “as soon as possible”.

“The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) is aware of two incidents occurring on US public highways in which the subject vehicles caught fire after an undercarriage strike with metallic roadway debris. The resulting impact damage to the propulsion battery tray (baseplate) initiated thermal runaway. In each incident, the vehicle's battery monitoring system provided escalating visible and audible warnings, allowing the driver to execute a controlled stop and exit the vehicle before the battery emitted smoke and fire. Based on these incidents, NHTSA is opening this preliminary evaluation to examine the potential risks associated with undercarriage strikes on model year 2013 Tesla Model S vehicles,” the NHTSA said earlier today.

In Tesla related news, Elon Musk said the Model S will receive an over-the-air update to the air suspension for a greater ground clearance at highway speeds, with a software update to follow in January 2014.
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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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