How’s this for bad PR? A Tesla Model S car burst into flames in Washington State this week after a relatively minor accident on a highway.
Tesla has reacted to the accident, noting that the car had a “direct impact” with a “large metallic object,” which hit “one of the 16 modules within the Model S battery pack.”
The Tesla Model S has received a five star rating from the NHTSA and a five star rating in each of the subcategories.
For all cars on the road, there is a 1 in 1500 chance of the vehicle having a fire. In 2011, there were 187,500 car fires on the highway. http://www.nfpa.org/research/fire-statistics/the-us-fire-problem/highway-vehicle-fires
After hitting a piece of metal on route 187. The car alerted the driver to pull over. The owner was able to leave the car unharmed while the fire was contained in the front. The cabin did not erupt into flames.
Of course lithium ion batteries do have problems with bursting into flames (just ask Boeing), Tesla has taken measures to prevent fires from spreading to other . The Model S has thousands of batteries separated by intumescent goo. This goo expands where exposed to excessive heat and forms a barrier that protects other batteries. http://www.forbes.com/sites/markrogowsky/2013/10/03/yes-teslas-can-catch-fire-but-keeping-cool-is-in-order/
I don’t believe that an accident that caused no injuries is cause to panic. Tesla is facing legal barriers in several states (Texas, Colorado, Virginia) due to its business model of selling directly to the consumer. This is despite having a safe product with plenty of consumer demand. Teslab has also repaid a nearly 500 million dollar loan ten years early.
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