Tesla Fire: Battery Burns A Third Time, But Elon Musk Thinks Model S Is Safer

Tesla Fire: Battery Burns A Third Time, But Elon Musk Thinks Model S Is Safer

A Tesla fire burned the battery of a Tesla Model S for a third time, but what does Elon Musk say about the safety of the Tesla cars?

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, a Tesla Model S fire video showed the roadster electric vehicle bursting into flames on the road.

The first Tesla fire involved a driver crashing into a concrete wall and tree at high speed, so you might expect some flames in a case like that. Like the previous accidents, this third Tesla fire was caused by running over road debris that pierced the quarter inch think armored plating on the underside of the Tesla Model S battery compartment.

News of the Tesla fire spread like flames and shares of the car maker fell 7.5 percent on Thursday following a 14.5 percent drop the previous day. But that drop was due to investors’ concerns over battery shortages, not vehicle safety, and the Tesla stock price is actually up by 312 percent in 2013.

A spokeswoman for the Tennessee Highway Patrol says the Tesla fire was triggered by running over a two hitch and the entire front of the car was engulfed in flames. The fire chief who responded to the scene said, “It pretty much just melted to the road.” But the passenger compartment was in “pretty good shape,” giving credence to the claims of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has said there is “absolutely zero doubt” the battery design of the Tesla Model S “is safer to power a car with a battery than a large tank of highly flammable liquid.”

The Tesla fire is not alone. Although the Nissan Leaf hasn’t experienced any battery fires the Chevy Volt caught fire years after a crash test. But an investigation was closed after GM agreed to increase the size of the shielding surrounding the battery compartment. Investigations into the Tesla fire by the NHTSA did not find “evidence at this time that would indicate the recent battery fire involving a Tesla Model S was the result of a vehicle safety defect or noncompliance with federal safety standards.”

Tesla Battery Fire Safer Due To Model S Design?

But how are the flames not a “defect” and how could a Tesla battery fire be “safer” versus a gasoline fire? If the armored underplating of the Tesla model S is penetrated and sparks a chemical fire in some of the Tesla battery pack’s modules the internal firewalls protect the other modules from the heat. Internal vents prevent the fire from spreading through all 16 modules by pushing flames away from the vehicle, which also protects the passengers. If a car accident was so extreme that all of the Tesla battery modules were penetrated it could be argued that the passengers would probably be more harmed by the impact, not the resulting fire.

A similar accident in a gasoline car might have caused the entire gas tank to explode at once. American drivers suffer from an estimated 194,000 vehicle fires each year. An amazing 61 percent start in the engine compartment and 15 percent in the passenger areas. Around 300 people die and 1,250 are injured in United States car fires each year, but not a single person has died from a Tesla fire.

Do you think the Tesla fire is an indication of safety issues or do you applaud Elon Musk’s company for its higher standards?