‘America’s Safest Car’ Ablaze After Fire Starts in Battery Pack

Tesla stock dives amid new worries about lithium-ion safety

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Paul Sancya / AP

A Tesla Model S electric car, touted as the safest car in America, caught fire on Tuesday, spurring new worries about the possible risks of lithium-ion batteries. In two recent incidents, involving Boeing’s new 787 plane and Chevrolet’s Volt hybrid car, fires have emanated from batteries of the same type.

Tesla spokeswoman Liz Jarvis-Shean said the fire was caused by a large metallic object hitting the battery pack, and pointed out that no one was injured. Company shares still dropped by more than 6 percent, following the appearance on the Internet of a video showing flames spewing out of the vehicle (mild profanity heard).

(MORE: Tesla Motors Pours Cold Data on New York Times ‘Model S’ Review)