Feds Investigate Tesla Model S Cars Following Battery Fires NBC Bay Area

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Tesla Model S

Feds Investigate Tesla S Cars Following Battery

The U.S. government’s auto watchdog has opened an investigation battery fires in Tesla S electric cars. Scott reports.

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The U.S. government’s auto watchdog has opened an investigation battery fires in Tesla S electric cars.

The National Traffic Administration says broke out in two of the cars in the U.S. the undercarriage hit metal road The debris pierced the batteries and a thermal reaction and fires. In case, the car warned the driver of the and both escaped without hurt.

The probe affects than 13,000 cars the 2013 model year were sold in the U.S. has sold about 19,000 of the worldwide. They start at but often run more than

Tesla’s batteries are located the passenger compartment and protected by a metal shield. Experts say if the batteries are damaged, that can arcing and sparks and touch off a

NHTSA, in documents posted on its Tuesday, said it opened the evaluation »to examine the risks associated with strikes» on the Tesla cars. The could lead to a recall, but a likely is months away.

CEO Elon Musk said in a posting that the company the government to investigate, even its cars catch fire at a far rate than gas-powered

While we think it is highly if something is discovered that result in a material improvement in fire safety, we will apply that change to new and offer it as a free retrofit to all cars,» Musk wrote.

Why a Tesla fire w no injury get media headlines than gas car fires that kill of people per year?

Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 19, 2013

He also wrote Tesla has done an over-the-air update to give the car more clearance at highway speeds.

wrote that the software was made to cut the chances of underbody «The theoretical probability of a injury is already vanishingly and the actual number to date is he wrote.

MORE: Elon Blog: The Mission of Tesla

He said the car fires have to be into perspective and that the has become overblown thanks to who don’t understand.

Since the S went into production year, there have more than a quarter gasoline car fires in the United alone, resulting in over 400 and approximately 1,200 serious (extrapolating 2012 NFPA However, the three Model S which only occurred very high-speed collisions and no serious injuries or deaths, more national headlines all 250,000+ gasoline fires The media coverage of Model S vs. gasoline car fires is disproportionate by orders of magnitude, despite the actually being far more

Tesla plans another update in January to give the more control of the air suspension height.

The low-slung Model S has a clearance between the ground and the Other cars with gas sit lower, such as the Mercedes CLA at 3.9 inches and a Dodge Charger at 5 according to the Edmunds.com auto But the Tesla automatically lowers about another inch at speeds, the company’s website


According to the U.S. Fire there are around 194,000 fires on U.S. roads year. The vast majority _ 61 _ start in the engine area, 15 percent start in the passenger Approximately 300 people die and 1,250 are in U.S. vehicle fires year.

Tesla Model S

Most happen in gas-powered which make up the vast of cars on U.S. roads. vehicles make up less 1 percent of the cars sold in the

MORE: Third Tesla S Fire Reported

General and Nissan make the top-selling cars in the nation, the Volt and Neither knows of any real-world in those vehicles. A Chevrolet caught fire two years ago a government crash test, but the closed an investigation into the after GM agreed to a safety to bolster shielding around the

The Model S can go up to 265 miles (425 on a single charge.

Musk that at first, a NHTSA didn’t seem like a use of the agency’s time given the frequency of gasoline-powered car fires. But he his mind. «If a false about the safety of electric is allowed to linger, it will the advent of sustainable transport and the risk of global climate with potentially disastrous worldwide. That cannot be to happen,» Musk wrote.

He has said previously that the car be recalled.

MORE: Tesla CEO Musk Visits Injured at Hospital

Palo Alto, Tesla’s stock rose than 400 percent earlier in the as the Model S won accolades from Reports and other magazines. But it has 37 percent since news of the fire was reported on Oct. 2.

Its fell almost 4 percent, or to $117.20 in premarket trading

The first U.S. fire along a freeway in Kent, near Seattle when a S struck a curved metal which pierced the shield and the In the second case, a Model S fire Nov. 6 near Tenn. after the driver a trailer hitch in the road.

Another fire was reported 17 in Mexico when a Model S after a high-speed crash.

NBC Bay Lisa Fernandez contributed to report.

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