Another Tesla Model S Catches Fire

Company confirms third electric car fire in six weeks

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Lucy Nicholson / REUTERS

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk talks about Tesla's new battery swapping program in Hawthorne, California June 20, 2013.

The electric car company Tesla has confirmed that one of its Model S vehicles caught fire on Wednesday, the third such fire in the last six weeks.

The company said the fire, which occurred in Smyma, Tenn., was the result of an accident and was not a spontaneous combustion, Reuters reports. The driver, who was not injured, was able to pull off the road and get out of the car. The incident occurred just four miles from a Nissan plant where the Leaf electric car, a Tesla competitor, is built.

This fire comes after a two similar events in October, when a puncture in the car’s battery caused the vehicle to catch fire.

After the first event, Tesla CEO Elon Musk defended the Model S safety record, writing in a blog post that “for consumers concerned about fire risk, there should be absolutely zero doubt that it is safer to power a car with a battery.”



Este fuego se produce después de unas dos eventos similares en  Read more: octubre, cuando un pinchazo en la batería del automóvil provocó que el vehículo se prenda fuego.


The safety of 100% electric powered cars becomes questionable when their large batteries are mounted in a location within the vehicle where their casings can easily be breached, causing the battery pack to erupt in fire, as in case of the Tesla.  On the one hand, mounting the battery pack as low as possible to keep the center of gravity down low does improve handling. But on the other hand one has to wonder what the designers of the Tesla were thinking when they came up with the battery design - a large thin, flat rectangle mounted at the very bottom of the vehicle, where it essentially comprises virtually the entire underside of the vehicle - making it extremely vulnerable to puncture from road debris.

Without question this design was seriously flawed from its very inception, and I knew it would only be a matter of time before this seriously flawed design would manifest itself in the Tesla vehicle fires that are occurring from their bottom mounted battery packs being punctured by road debris. The fix for this will essentially require a complete re-design of the vehicle and it would not surprise me at all - if all of the current Teslas on the road were ultimately deemed unsafe by the government and banned from the roads altogether. Anyone owning Tesla stock needs to seriously reconsider the valuation of their investment, given these circumstances.