Just to be clear – Tesla cars are completely safe despite the ‘extremely unusual’ headlining car fires. This is the condensed version from the Tesla blog. But Tesla Model S customers can now be even more than 100% assured that their vehicle is one of the safest out there, thanks to the addition of a triple underbody titanium shield.
Exaggerations aside, it’s true that Tesla prioritizes safety. In 2013 there were more than 200,000 gasoline car fires in North America, and only two of those happened in the Model S. No one was injured. In fact, Tesla claims that even if passengers had not been able to exit the car when alerted to do so “they would still have been safely protected by the steel and ceramic firewall between the battery pack and the passenger compartment.” And “to improve things further, we provided an over-the-air software update a few months ago to increase the default ground clearance of the Model S at highway speeds, substantially reducing the odds of a severe underbody impact.” Tesla installs safety protocol after safety protocol to make certain their ratings are number one.
This latest upgrade, the triple underbody shield, could be seen as more of a public statement than necessity. The three shields are designed to destroy everything from a solid concrete block to a steel alternator and safely capture and eject objects made of ultra-hard steel. The test videos, shown on the blog is slow motion, display just how impressively Tesla proves their point. Basically if debris isn’t deflected by the first shield or crushed by the titanium second shield, it’s an object that is essentially incompressible and immovable and the third shield will absorb impact energy with one last deflection meant to ramp the car over the object.
The changes made to the Model S, though substantial, are claimed to not affect ride or handling and only have a 0.1 percent impact on range. Testing showed no discernible changes in drag or lift. Overall, Tesla reports that the changes aren’t actually needed for a high level of safety, but were made instead to put any doubts to rest.
The Tesla titanium shield has been installed in all Model S cars manufactured after March 6. Tesla service has also offered to retrofit the shield free of charge to current owners. “With a track record of zero deaths or serious, permanent injuries since our vehicles went into production six years ago, there is no safer car on the road than a Tesla.”
Well done, Tesla. I’ll never doubt you again.