Print 111 comment(s) - last by zen_technica.. on Apr 3 at 8:55 PM

Armor plating can be retrofitted for free for existing Model S owners

The latter half of 2013 wasn’t exactly a happy time for Tesla Motors (and for at least two Model S owners).  There were two separate vehicle fires involving the company’s Model S electric sedan that occurred after the vehicles struck debris on the road. In one instance a Model S struck a tow hitch, while the incident saw a Model S strike a random piece of metal that was left on the road.
Striking the debris was enough to pierce though the quarter-inch thick aluminum “armor” plate beneath the Model S and ignite the lithium-ion batteries.
In light of these incidents, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is today taking steps to make sure that his already safe Model S is made even safer for its occupants. Musk first of all downplayed the fire risks, and called out gasoline-powered vehicles, stating, “The odds of fire in a Model S, at roughly 1 in 8,000 vehicles, are five times lower than those of an average gasoline car and, when a fire does occur, the actual combustion potential is comparatively small.”

Tesla Model S
But in order to quiet critics and give current (and future) owners of the Model S more piece of mind, Tesla will be adding a titanium plate and aluminum shields to the vehicle’s underbody to deflect and absorb impacts from road debris.
The added titanium plate and aluminum shields don’t affect the structure or handling characteristics of the Model S, and only have a 0.1 percent impact on vehicle range. Musk stated that his company performed 152 vehicles tests using the new protection system in place and nothing was able to penetrate the Model S’ new defenses to cause a fire.
Musk also went on to state that all Model S vehicles built as of March 6 have the new protection system in place. In addition, all existing customers can have their vehicles retrofitted for free upon request at their next service visit.
Take a look at the animated images below to see the new protection system in action (filmed with vehicle-mounted high-speed cameras):

Three ball tow hitch

Concrete block

Source: Tesla Motors

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By 1prophet on 3/28/2014 11:41:44 AM , Rating: 5
But, but what about the bean counters, the accountants, the hit to profits and stock price, after all it should be profits first above all else and a few burnt customers along with potential lawsuits are just a cause of doing business,

just ask Milton Friedman

By 1prophet on 3/28/2014 11:42:41 AM , Rating: 2
should be cost of doing business

By Reclaimer77 on 3/28/2014 12:47:37 PM , Rating: 1
This is a voluntary recall, sorry that's just what it is. Upgraded safety features aren't just given away unless there is a problem with the vehicle.

Blaming drivers for inadequate battery protection is just...bias of the worst kind. No matter how good of a driver you are, eventually you're going to run over road debris. Often times it's safer doing so than swerving to avoid them and causing an accident.

By Mint on 3/28/2014 3:04:07 PM , Rating: 1
Upgraded safety features aren't just given away unless there is a problem with the vehicle.
Car makers only care about perception of safety problems, whether real or imaginary. If nobody notices, there's no loss of sales or lawsuits.

Tesla had such an imaginary safety problem because the media made a big stink out of 3 Teslas catching fire without injury but didn't care about 150,000+ gasoline vehicles catching fire. And yes, even when noting only 1 in 10,000 cars in the US are Teslas, they still come out less prone to fire.

By flyingpants1 on 3/28/2014 4:45:02 PM , Rating: 1
Compare with gasoline cars. Oops.

By Manch on 3/30/2014 8:25:22 AM , Rating: 1
What do you mean you people?! :D

Dude, the Church of Musk like the Church of Jobs have it ingrained in their followers heads that the products they produce are infallible. If Musk came out and said "They're driving it wrong" the would believe it.

By Cheesew1z69 on 3/30/2014 10:20:01 AM , Rating: 2
If Musk came out and said "They're driving it wrong" the would believe it.
Except, I think Musk is a little to smart to make such stupid comments.

By Mint on 3/28/2014 8:48:01 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't say it's not a recall, as that's a matter of definition. I'm just explaining that it's not necessary for well-above-average safety.

By Solandri on 3/28/2014 4:11:14 PM , Rating: 5
Mint is correct. Statistically this was a non-issue, and the Tesla S was already safer than gasoline cars in this regard. What this is is the media being stupid in their coverage, and Tesla paying out of pocket to counteract the negative publicity caused by that stupidity.

Other examples of similar media stupidity are:
- Focus on airliner crashes promulgating the misconception that planes are dangerous, when they're already 10x safer than cars. Is the disappearance of MH370 really more important than what's happening in Ukraine?
- Anything having to do with nuclear power, when it's the safest power source man has invented.
- Parents being scared to death of their children being abducted by a stranger, when there are only ~100 such abductions each year. Your child is 500x more likely to be abducted by a relative or acquaintance.
- Parents being scared their children will be shot at school. They're much more likely to be shot outside of school, and pulling them out of school because of this fear actually increases their chances of being shot.
- Grossly disproportionate coverage of the opinions of celebrities, when the vast majority of them are just people who are very good at memorizing and delivering lines in an emotive manner, and have little to no technical, mathematical, or political knowledge.

Unfortunately, people are emotional creatures. And the media is more than willing to pander to gossip and hysteria if it generates ratings.

By SPOOFE on 3/28/2014 5:25:57 PM , Rating: 2
The media crowned the Model S the greatest car of all time.


By SPOOFE on 3/28/2014 6:49:51 PM , Rating: 2
That's all the media?

Did they run sensationalist, context-free articles and Tesla car fires?

By SPOOFE on 3/28/2014 6:50:48 PM , Rating: 2
*ON Tesla car fires, 'scuse me.

By WLee40 on 3/31/2014 3:21:26 PM , Rating: 1
What?! I sense a bit of paranoia from Reclaimer...

By Keeir on 3/28/2014 4:40:52 PM , Rating: 2
Toyota did massive recalls because people were too stupid to keep their floor mats out of the gas pedal assembly.

True. But there was the actual -DEATH- of 4 people with a police officer at the wheel. Not to mention the scores/hundreds of reports of similiar issues. And even with those noted, I think the only reason Toyota had to do that recall is the massive media coverage of every little possible "unintended acceleration".

Just call this what it is: a recall. Why is Tesla so sacred you people get offended by this? There isn't an automaker on the PLANET that hasn't had to do recalls. They in no way reflect on the company.

When Tesla issues a statement asking Model S owners to not drive thier Model S's until alteration has been made, I will agree its a recall.

Until then its large large "Service Bulletin". The last car I owned had multiple fixes that took place via "Service Bulletins" rather than recalls. If I hadn't been taking it to the dealership, I wouldn't have recieved these updates. One was a critical one that had lead to engines destroying themselves under normal driving conditions. There was no "recall".

By typicalGeek on 3/28/2014 5:53:17 PM , Rating: 2
My best guess is your "cop" actually committed suicide (and murdered his family in doing so). I can't believe that a police officer that is trained to handle emergency situations without losing his head would be SO STUPID that he couldn't shift a vehicle into neutral and turn the engine off. Then he simply could have coast to a stop even if the brakes had 100% failed.

There is ZERO evidence that the vehicle he was in would not have stopped using the above. Even IF he were too dumb to shift into neutral but simply turned the vehicle off it would have come to a complete stop.

A stuck accelerator would NOT prevent the key / switch from turning the motor off. The entire recall was more about a few idiot drivers, then a huge money grab by a few trying to sue.

By SeeManRun on 3/28/2014 6:06:42 PM , Rating: 1
A veteran California Highway Patrol officer was driving three family members in a Lexus ES350. At some point, the throttle of the car stuck open, the driver lost control, and the car accelerated to high speed before hitting another vehicle, rolling over several times, and bursting into flames. All four occupants died. A subsequent investigation discovered that the car had been fitted with all-weather floor mats designed for a Lexus RX, which were too long for the ES350, thus trapping the accelerator pedal after a full-throttle application and causing the crash.

Your guess sounds wrong to me. Imagine being in a car that suddenly hit high speed on a busy highway and braking helped didn't solve it? You would very easily hit another vehicle and get into an accident.

By Alexvrb on 3/28/2014 11:51:59 PM , Rating: 2
Just when I found myself agreeing with most of your posts in this article.

Anyway, your black-or-white assessment assumes the driver is a robot or knows it's going to happen ahead of time. When you take your foot off the accelerator, your brain assumes the car is going to function as expected. This can be compounded by a number of things - if you're reaching for a radio control, or a drink, checking your mirrors, etc. But when it doesn't slow down, and in fact accelerates rapidly as though you've kept your foot in it, there's a delay. Your brain must process the impossible happening. You might (fairly quickly) nail the brakes, but it just might be too late.

Plus there's so many other factors. Road conditions, tires, ABS/traction systems, engine output vs brake configuration and wear, initial speed, manuevering (lane change? passing?), etc. Not every car is going to remain perfectly poised and stable at high speeds if you're effectively nailing the accelerator and then the brakes and holding them both while fighting to keep it straight. Especially on a FWD car (Camry) lacking a stability control (ESC) system and sans anti-torque steer type suspension (such as HiPer struts).

Also: "Yank the emergency brake"? In a situation where you're just trying to stop the car and keep it going where you're pointing it, that could be bad. Depending on the car and conditions that would range from "does jack squat" to downright dangerous (physical cable actuated brakes don't cooperate with ABS/traction control, plus if it has drum-in-hat e-brakes it would increase rear braking action and potentially destabilize the rear at high speeds).

Bottom line: You weren't there, and it likely wasn't just floor mats. Didn't you see the videos on them shimming pedals as part of the recall? The accelerator pedals have little friction pads to simulate a more "normal" pedal feel. Wear and tear, binding? Plus their fly-by-wire setups weren't that bulletproof. There's no saying a pedal position sensor can't fail (hint: they do), and if you don't have a redundant sensor on a particular model, whoops!

By Mint on 3/28/2014 4:44:54 PM , Rating: 5
Just call this what it is: a recall. Why is Tesla so sacred you people get offended by this?

Did I say anything about the word recall in my post? Try again, troll.

you should be happy they are taking action to fix a CLEAR and obvious design flaw.
Really? So I suppose 200M cars without backup cameras have a clear and obvious design flaw as well? One that has actually killed hundreds and injured tens of thousands, compared to zero deaths/injuries from Tesla's "flaw"? You support fixing that?

Oh wait, you're vehemently opposed to doing anything about that.

By SPOOFE on 3/28/2014 6:54:11 PM , Rating: 2
So he's right, you ARE vehemently opposed to backup cameras.

Jeez, even when you agree with someone 100% you throw your coked-up drama queen shtick.

By SPOOFE on 3/28/2014 7:38:17 PM , Rating: 2
Okay, so you're just vehement for no reason.


By Spuke on 3/28/2014 8:34:27 PM , Rating: 1
Okay, so you're just vehement for no reason.
No, you're just a dumb ass for no reason.

You're a

By Manch on 3/28/2014 1:09:25 PM , Rating: 2
Splitting hairs there buddy.

Call it a voluntary recall if you wish. National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 says automakers are required to notify N.H.T.S.A. and consumers and conduct a recall when there is a safety defect.

Of course being a new and unique vehicle with issues largely never dealt with except maybe the Volt battery fire issue, Musk was smart to do this. It's good business. Like the Volt even though the chance was small even statistically & significantly smaller than gas vehicles it's still very much a real world risk.

No it's not a safety upgrade either. The aluminum plate was inadequate period. The new plate fixes the safety defect.

You cant blame it solely on the drivers either. Often times road debris is unavoidable. If the car in front of you one lane over crashes into another and debris starts flying, often enough you're gonna hit something. Or if lets say they run over something and there car spits it out the back and into your lane you may not be able to avoid it. There are so many variables why a driver may not be able to avoid debris. Was there traffic leaving him no room to maneuver? And other common sense questions

Apparently you think you're a ninja at driving or have cat like reflexes, but as a racer myself, it's impossible to avoid everything all the time.

I think it's a great vehicle and I see them all the time here in Norway (no tax on them). They even use them as taxis! Still, I dont put it or any car on a pedestal and think they are untouchable and neither should you.

By Mint on 3/28/2014 2:52:16 PM , Rating: 2
The aluminum alloy plate was more than adequate. If you think otherwise, then ALL cars are unsafe.

Look at what happens in a normal car when road debris hits it, which has a far thinner underbody:

The Model S had no such passenger cell intrusion. Even this new titanium plate doesn't cover the battery. It's in the front to protect electronics, as the aluminum bars are designed to deflect or flip debris there before something happens further back.

I will agree, however, that it's silly to blame this sort of accident on drivers.

By Mint on 3/28/2014 4:18:18 PM , Rating: 2
That's because the plate was supposed to protect the batteries from damage, NOT passenger intrusion.
Says who? Your worthless presumption?

Of course it's meant to protect from passenger intrusion. Tesla has always said that the battery pack - including the plates and internal cross members - is a structural member of the car to enhance safety.
It didn't do it's job, it's that simple. If it had, Tesla wouldn't be doing this recall. Titanium isn't exactly cheap.
Your point is incoherent, as Tesla is not changing the battery or its aluminum alloy plate. The new titanium plate is to protect the front underbody of the car, not the battery.

By SPOOFE on 3/28/2014 5:30:31 PM , Rating: 2
If that was needed for passenger safety, EVERY car would have a solid plate covering the entire underside.

Which just means it's not needed for passenger safety. Basic logic, try using it!

By Manch on 3/28/2014 11:57:58 PM , Rating: 2
No, bc most cars dont have batteries that can catch fire from such events. The aluminum plate was not adequate, and thats why the fix happened. If the aluminum plate was adequate there would have been no such issue.

That being said, I realize that the issue is significantly smaller than what can happen with an ICE vehicle ut that doesnt chang e the fact that this was an oversight that lead to a defect on Tesla's part.

The new plate doeasnt have to cover the battery, it only has to prevent intrusion into the battery. Big difference there.

By Manch on 3/29/2014 12:07:32 AM , Rating: 1
Also, I just want to add that unlike most cars, the Tesla uni-body is flat. There is no place for debris to deflect into unlike an ICE car. These gaps and other objects riding along the bottom of the car have provide a cavity for such objects to dispel there moment, thus reducing damage. No such option with the Tesla

By Reclaimer77 on 3/28/2014 3:42:27 PM , Rating: 2
Call it a voluntary recall if you wish.

Well technically ALL recalls are voluntary. It's not like the auto makers send out fleets of tow trucks to compel you to bring the car in and get the issues resolved.

I just cannot understand this fierce loyalty to the point that a simple recall is the topic of such heated debate. Get the F over it people, Tesla's aren't perfect, no car is. What is the problem with admitting this issue was legitimate and the proper action was taken?

I mean you have people like Mint blaming the "media". Wtf? The Liberal dominated media in this country has been entirely enamored with Elon Musk and Tesla.

By SPOOFE on 3/28/2014 5:33:16 PM , Rating: 2
What is the problem with admitting this issue was legitimate

Because it wasn't legitimate. It was a mountain out if a molehill, and only irrational loudmouth kneejerks like Reclaimer ever got their panties in a wad over it.

By Manch on 3/29/2014 12:01:10 AM , Rating: 2
Wel technically a volunteer recall doesn't exist. If there is a defect then the manufacturer must fix it. Whether the NHTSA or themselves issue it is largely a "How much of a fine do we want to pay" issue.

By tng on 3/28/2014 2:14:14 PM , Rating: 2
It's an upgraded safety feature because of idiot drivers who are not paying attention to the road conditions or are following too close to avoid foreign objects on the roadway.
Wow,drive much? I would say that you don't, at least not in the conditions that some of us have to.

Yes I have seen the people that follow to close and thus can't avoid objects, but you are making allot of assumptions. I have seen the freeways moving at 60-70 MPH and guess what, even if you see something in your lane that got kicked over, you have no where to go if you are in a center lane.

I have also been the victim of a steel ramp that fell off a trailer at night on a corner. It was painted black and I barely had time to swerve... It still caught the edge of the rear rim and bent it enough to let the air out om my tire.

As to the "recall", call it what you like, but it is the same thing.

By Cheesew1z69 on 3/28/2014 2:48:30 PM , Rating: 2
It's an upgraded safety feature because of idiot drivers who are not paying attention to the road conditions or are following too close to avoid foreign objects on the roadway.
Right, because it's totally possible to react in all situations to avoid something in the middle of road.

By SPOOFE on 3/28/2014 5:34:12 PM , Rating: 2
It is.

By Cheesew1z69 on 3/28/2014 7:10:52 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, but you are absolutely incorrect.

By SPOOFE on 3/28/2014 7:40:06 PM , Rating: 2
No, the possibility of avoiding every obstacle exists.

It has low LIKELIHOOD, but it's still non-zero.

By Keeir on 3/28/2014 2:26:28 PM , Rating: 2
I agree and disagree.

I agree its the right thing to do. Tesla can not afford to be seen as anything less than "perfect".

But at the same time, there is NO safety reason to be doing this. In all cases, the Tesla Model S performed admirably and above average.

By SeeManRun on 3/28/2014 4:05:03 PM , Rating: 2
He probably came to the conclusion that there has been other things hitting the bottom of the Model S and there have been no fires. The incidents that led to fires were somewhat catastrophic. The car performed well in those events, alerting the driver of a problem.

Seems like it was doing its job to me. Even with the upgrade, I am sure you will be able to run into something that will puncture it if you put some effort into it (or a really unlucky fluke).

By Reclaimer77 on 3/28/2014 4:10:47 PM , Rating: 2
Have you seen the video's in the article? Hitting a tow hitch is NOT "catastrophic". Come on, you guys are just being silly as all.

As far as the alerts go, this is comical. You can't give a failed safety measure a pass just because it alerted the driver that a failure happened. That is NOT the definition of success.

So if the safety features in my car failed, but the car warned me about them, it's suddenly okay?

Even with the upgrade, I am sure you will be able to run into something that will puncture it if you put some effort into it

Probably because this is a half-assed measure somewhat. There shouldn't be ANY aluminum being used for such an impact-critical task.

By Cheesew1z69 on 3/28/2014 4:25:58 PM , Rating: 2
Hitting a tow hitch is NOT "catastrophic".

I am sure this guy would beg to differ :)

And that video on here, is most likely with the new plating.

By SeeManRun on 3/28/2014 4:27:01 PM , Rating: 3
Ugh... Remember when airbags were introduced for the front passenger? Do you remember how children in car seats in the front seat may get killed because of the air bag? Well, they didn't recall every one of those vehicles. New vehicles got a sensor, and all existing calls were warned NOT to put children in the front seat. I believe between the sensor implementation cars were installed with a switch to disable the front air bag if someone young was in the seat.

So yes, I think you can give a pass because of the alerting system. As for hitting a tow hitch at speed, I would say that is catastrophic and could easily derail any car if it hit the right spot like the tires or the gas tank. I have to believe if it could puncture Tesla's armor it could also puncture an ICE armor under the gas tank.

By Reclaimer77 on 3/28/2014 6:28:04 PM , Rating: 2
And you would be wrong. Modern fuel tanks are way more impact resistant than a thin aluminum plate spanned across the entire underbody.

So yes, I think you can give a pass because of the alerting system.

Meh, that's your opinion. I would rather a vehicle that doesn't need to warn you that a safety feature failed and my life is in danger if I don't instantly exit the vehicle.

Nothing to see here. Just another safety feature "working as intended" lol.

By SeeManRun on 3/28/2014 6:44:29 PM , Rating: 2
Cause of fire unknown.

Telsa on fire

Cars catch on fire all the time. At least with the Tesla you can attribute it to something obvious. Why the hell are these other cars are starting on fire...

So, you want a car that can't catch on fire?

By Reclaimer77 on 3/28/2014 6:51:38 PM , Rating: 2
Yes cars catch on fire, but there are no glaring issues as to the cause. The fuel systems on ICE cars are about as safe as they're going to get, cost permitting.

However ALL Tesla fires had one common cause: Someone running over something, batteries being damaged.

It doesn't take Sherlock to see why this, fine, "upgrade" is needed.

At least with the Tesla you can attribute it to something obvious.

Exactly!! You said it. The cause is obvious, and the fix is obvious!

By SPOOFE on 3/28/2014 6:58:36 PM , Rating: 2
So it's better to regularly have fires with no attributable cause, but it's Teh Wurstest Evar to almost never have a fire but know why?

By SeeManRun on 3/28/2014 7:08:53 PM , Rating: 2
But that was the point. If you puncture the battery, you will get a fire. For the ICE cars it seems that there are a myriad of things that we don't understand that can cause a fire.

Sure you reduce punctures with a new plate, but I bet you can still puncture it with the right object, and you will still get a fire. This feels like a better system than what we get with ICE fires.

Either way, Tesla addressed the problem, just like Toyota did and most car manufacturers do. Call it a recall, or a design flaw, or an enhancement, the outcome is the same. A change due to new knowledge.

By Reclaimer77 on 3/29/2014 6:20:07 AM , Rating: 2
Either way, Tesla addressed the problem, just like Toyota did and most car manufacturers do. Call it a recall, or a design flaw, or an enhancement, the outcome is the same. A change due to new knowledge.

100% agree. That was the whole point of my OP before I got dragged into this.

But the radical Tesla-love crowed wants to have their cake and eat it too. They want to convince themselves there was no problem at all in the first place, and this is just a PR move of sorts. But also praise Musk for making it.

I said in my OP this was the right move imo, that's all.

By Mint on 3/28/2014 8:44:51 PM , Rating: 3
Modern fuel tanks are way more impact resistant than a thin aluminum plate spanned across the entire underbody.
LOL no they aren't. Do you ever do even the slightest research before forming one of your worthless opinions? You are so f***ing clueless.

The majority of fuel tanks are plastic (HDPE to be exact):

Although some manufacturers still choose steel, plastic is preferred because it's usually lighter, has superior corrosion resistance, and in crashes it can deform without breaking at welding seams. Road debris is rare enough that it's a very minor consideration, and few cars have any steel protection plate for fuel tanks.

Even a BMW M5 has an unshielded, plastic fuel tank that can be easily punctured:

By Reclaimer77 on 3/29/2014 6:03:50 AM , Rating: 2
plastic is preferred because it's usually lighter, has superior corrosion resistance, and in crashes it can deform without breaking at welding seams.

I like how you claim I'm wrong, then in the same post confirm everything I just said.

Modern HDPE fuel tanks are WAY safer than an aluminum plate. I think YOU need to do some research. I have!

"Generally, plastic tanks are considered safer in crashes because they are seamless and, thus, not prone to failures in the vulnerable seam areas. They are not a source of sparks. Also, plastic tanks deform and have some ability to rebound back to shape. "

By Reclaimer77 on 3/29/2014 7:47:21 AM , Rating: 2
LOL and I love that your "evidence" is a random forum post by someone. He could say ANYTHING! His fuel tank could have been defective from the factory. We don't know any confirmable details.

Come on, you've lost it. Time to back up and get some perspective.

Of course plastics better absorb impacts than aluminum! Anyone who knows anything about materials would tell you that. This is absurd! You embarrass yourself.

By Mint on 3/29/2014 12:51:40 PM , Rating: 2
LOL what research? You quoted the same things I already stated.

Plastic tanks are NOT safer than an aluminum alloy shielded battery. They are far easier to puncture, whether road debris is involved or not. You can find plenty of accounts on message boards about punctured fuel tanks. People have even caught it on camera:

Gasoline is responsible for over half of deaths in fatal fires. When looking at all auto fires, it's the second most common material to initially ignite. You get a fire in a gas car every 10-15 million miles, but since revising the ride height, the Model S has driven 90 million miles without a fire , according to the NHTSA. I challenge you to name a gas car that can match that.

The evidence shows that modern fuel systems are far less safe than the Tesla battery. Of course evidence is a foreign word to you.

By Reclaimer77 on 3/29/2014 8:40:09 PM , Rating: 2
I guess the fact that there are far fewer Teslas out on the roads don't factor in at all in this...

Just curious, but why have there been ZERO Nissan Leaf fires? But I guess comparing an EV to another EV isn't fair somehow.

You heard it here first folks, Mint has rewrote the book of physics. Polymers are inferior to aluminum at withstanding impacts apparently.

By Vytautas on 3/29/2014 11:13:58 PM , Rating: 2
Look, actually he obviously had you with his argument. The number of ICE cars vs Teslas on the road is irrelevant. The statistic is for number of miles driven. Those miles can be driven by 10 thousand cars, or by 10 million. In either case it's a accident risk for number of miles driven parameter.

By Reclaimer77 on 3/29/2014 11:27:22 PM , Rating: 2
Fires per mile is an impossible metric to have any accuracy with. It's just marketing buzzspeak, which is why Musk uses it instead of more relevant statistics.

But you know what, I don't even care. Cars catch on fire, it happens.

What I DO care about is the assertion by obviously biased fanbois here that this design improvement by Tesla is somehow cosmetic. Because actually admitting a safety upgrade is happening, is some kind of horrible stain on the company or something.

By Vytautas on 3/30/2014 8:56:51 AM , Rating: 2
It seems you are the one actually expressing an extremist point of view here, reclaimer. A company may offer a free upgrade if it wishes so, as in this case. This is not necessarily a recall. Everyone agrees and doesn't dispute that this is an improvement on the basic design. You are the one seemingly clawing and fighting for this to be interpreted like a fix for a very serious and critical design flaw.
Sadly statistic data doesn't agree with your argument. It has been shown in this discussion several times, so I won't repeat it again. Another person here expressed a very good comparison. This is like a manufacturer issuing an offer for a free of charge voluntary install of rear view cameras, or let's say tire air pressure maintaining equipment in a specific car model. It still isn't required by the law, or wasn't ordered by some federal agency. It's a safety improvement fixing a certain possible (not critical) design weakness (or flaw if you want to call it that way). Is it a recall? Most people wouldn't think so, but you seem to have your opinion set and won't budge. Call it what you wish :). In either case, although I like the design and powertrain in the Tesla, I would prefer something with higher clearance than a sports car which is actually usable only in the best of road conditions. And no crossovers either. There are plenty of smaller and larger all terrain vehicles which would be much safer and have a wider usage range. Although once while driving an SUV with a 70 cm clearance at 80 km/h during the night on a paved road and immediately after a road curve I was confronted with a large truck tire in the middle of my lane. I was in luck, that there wasn't a vehicle on the other line at the moment, so I was able to swerve and avoid it. High clearance or not the axles are much closer to the road and I could have hit that tire and lost control of the car. I was in luck that time. But then should all cars be mandated to have higher than 1 m (even at the axle level) clearances in order to avoid these kind of safety risks? No, you just have to accept certain driving characteristics and possible safety issues inherent to the design of certain kind of vehicles.

By Mint on 3/31/2014 8:30:23 AM , Rating: 2
I guess the fact that there are far fewer Teslas out on the roads don't factor in at all in this...
Fires per mile is an impossible metric to have any accuracy with. It's just marketing buzzspeak, which is why Musk uses it instead of more relevant statistics.

You're hopeless. What metric do you want then? Fires per car?

Guess what: That's precisely the metric Elon uses. I use mileage because that's more fair and what the NHTSA and academia uses. He claims 1 fire per 8000 Teslas, vs 1 per 1300 for gasoline cars (150,000-200,000 fires per year for ~200M cars).

What I DO care about is the assertion by obviously biased fanbois here that this design improvement by Tesla is somehow cosmetic.
Once again your feeble brain is stuck in extremes. You think a modification is addressing either a "clear design flaw" or it's entirely cosmetic, with no room between.

The funny part is that even you call the Model S overengineered, i.e. designed beyond what's necessary:
That's what this. It's overengineering to make a car already over 5x less susceptible to fires than average even less so.

Why overengineer? For PR and perception. It's the same reason Tesla designed for the highest crash test rating ever. Do you think a 4-star car in crash tests has a "design flaw"? It's probably safer than 99% of the cars in history, but it's not a good selling point when 5-star is out there.

By Reclaimer77 on 3/31/2014 4:47:20 PM , Rating: 2
"Vehicle fires" sound too general. The Tesla's weren't suffering from random fires, but a VERY specific point of failure.

A car can catch fire for dozens of reasons. Electrical problems, cigarette butts, exhaust gasses, I mean anything.

To simply say "ICE cars are more prone to fires" doesn't have jack to do with the very specific failure of the battery protection plate that's the common cause of all Tesla fires involved in collisions with objects.

And I think deep down you know this is just cherry picking numbers, if you were being objective, you would see right through this.

If I make baby food that only causes 50 kids to get sick, by your logic I would not be at fault because I could prove you're child is a thousand times more likely to get sick by other causes.

By Keeir on 3/28/2014 4:28:55 PM , Rating: 3

"Released in early 2013, U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data for 2011 showed over 800 Americans were killed that year in vehicle collisions with road debris."

I think the primary object here is the -SAFETY- of the occupants. Road Debris comes in many forms. Some of which the car should resist for significant rework, others of which damage to the car that prevents operation is acceptable provided that the safety of the people are maintained.

In the Model S's case, the trailer hitch is clearly a case where Safety is more important than prevented damage to the car. It would be a sad day when hitting a trailer hitch is considered a "normal" event on US roadways. For the Seattle case, I am unaware of the debris that caused the accident.

If it had performed "above average" at it's intended role, there would have been NO fires and no battery damage.

Using this defination for car performance, all cars are below average.

Tesla's problem is one mainly of image and marketing. Not safety or successful engineering performance. Just because a company performs an upgrade, doesn't mean that it solves a problem. Galaxy S4 isn't correcting some fundamental mis-engineering of the Galaxy S3. Its taking new data/progress and ensuring that Samsung has a halo phone that is actually "halo". Tesla is taking the information provided and ensuring their electric car is still the "halo" electric car.

By SPOOFE on 3/28/2014 7:00:44 PM , Rating: 2
It's a reaction to a perception issue, not a technical issue. You DO understand the difference between marketing and engineering, right?

By Reclaimer77 on 3/28/2014 7:02:59 PM , Rating: 1
The perception of Tesla is overwhelmingly positive. Nobody, NOBODY, has talked about these fires in months. Musk wouldn't waste the money doing this if he didn't need to, get a clue.

That's a poor excuse and you know it.

By SPOOFE on 3/28/2014 7:44:22 PM , Rating: 2
Musk wouldn't waste the money doing this if he didn't need to, get a clue.

A perceived marketing need, yes. That us what I said, after all. Am I using words with too many syllables? Do I need to type more slowly so your 1820s-era brain can catch up? :)

By Keeir on 3/28/2014 10:28:32 PM , Rating: 2
That is a horrible analogy, and to use it really calls your credibility into question.

Which is where we fundamentally differ on this.

Yeah you're right, this is just a big coincidence and has NOTHING to do with the fires!

Of course it does. But I am not aware of some document or regulation that forces Tesla to produce cars that NEVER EVER NO MATTER THE SITUATION catch on fire. Tesla has no obligation via regulation or via comparative analysis with similar products to perform this change. They are doing it because they want the safest car on the road as part of their branding. The release of the gifs/etc just further show the main intent here is marketing.

Heck, Airlines and Governments (US, Europe, Japan, etc) all still allow 787's to fly with the SURE knowledge their batteries will catch fire. Why? Because the systems are in place to handle a battery fire.

So far, Tesla's systems have perform adequately. Fires have taken time to develop, have occurred due to discrete events, and have given amble warning to the driver to safely exit the car. IE, there is no problem here to solve.

Is a Model S with the Titanium installed a better/safer/etc car? Sure. That doesn't mean the Model S without the shield had a problem.

By BRB29 on 3/28/2014 11:48:30 AM , Rating: 2
Easy, you raise the price by a smidget and offer a few more standard features.

You realize Tesla's margins is in multiples of most automakers right?

By NA1NSXR on 3/28/2014 4:05:15 PM , Rating: 2
That's not what Milton Friedman is saying at all. Get your comprehension checked out.

By Just Tom on 3/31/2014 11:26:09 AM , Rating: 2
You completely missed Friedman's point. Every car has the potential to cause deaths, making them safer costs money. The Model S is a pretty safe car all things considered but it certainly could be safer. If fixing an inherent design limitation would cost $1B and save 1 life should Tesla undertake fixing that design limitation? How about if it costs $100M to save 100 lives? Every company puts a value to such things, yes even Tesla, to think otherwise is naïve.

Wear and tear
By carniver on 3/28/14, Rating: 0
RE: Wear and tear
By kingmotley on 3/28/2014 12:28:31 PM , Rating: 2
Or you could take your car in for periodic maintenance, and they could tell you.

RE: Wear and tear
By carniver on 3/28/2014 12:44:34 PM , Rating: 2
A EV doesn't need much maintenance if at all, hence why I think such a prompt is necessary. The guy who downvoted me come out and say why you disagree? Doesn't matter what you say though, as long as you said something your vote will be reversed :p

RE: Wear and tear
By Argon18 on 3/28/14, Rating: 0
RE: Wear and tear
By toffty on 3/28/2014 3:17:45 PM , Rating: 2
Ignorance is bliss isn't it?

Know how many times I’ve taken my Nissan Leaf into the dealership in the last 3 years of ownership?
Both times were for a free yearly battery checkup. Took no more than an hour. (these are needed to keep the battery under warranty)

Beyond that sure tires and wipers which are all done by me. My brake pads get much less wear than an non-EV/Hyprid car because regenerative breaking is used the majority of time – it’s a small change in driving habit but my range goes up too.

All your other listed items are for cars 10+ years old so, sure, they have to be accounted for.

Overall an electric-drive car is MUCH simpler than an ICE driven vehicle. One of the biggest advantages is no transmission, just a set of reduction gears.

Here’s a cost breakdown between my Leaf and my previous car which was a Prius. (This breakdown will omit the shared costs like tires, wiper blades, etc)
Leaf: I drive ~12k miles a year. Electricity is $.12/kW for me. I get ~4.4 miles per kWh. Total cost per year: $327 (12k * .12 / 4.4)

Prius: 12k miles. Gas price: $3-$4 / gal (fluctuates so I’ll give a range). I got about 42 miles per gal. 3 oil changes a year adds about $100. Total cost per year: $957 - $1243 (12k * (3 or 4) / 42 + 100)

That’s a price difference of $630 to $916 a year!

As for the battery replacement, the Leaf’s battery should be good for me for 10 years. In 10 years I’ll have to pay ~$8000 for a replacement. So I would lose ~$2000 if gas stays around $3 (yeah right) or I save $1160 if gas prices average closer to $4 (more likely) or break even if gas hovers around $3.50.

RE: Wear and tear
By toffty on 3/28/2014 3:19:11 PM , Rating: 2
Before you ask, yes my next yearly checkup is coming up.

RE: Wear and tear
By Reclaimer77 on 3/28/14, Rating: 0
RE: Wear and tear
By Bubbacub on 3/28/2014 3:47:59 PM , Rating: 2
yes, but at the end of the day despite all the potential money saved you still have to drive around in a nissan leaf.

you could have 'saved' a lot more money by buying an actually decent second hand car and paying for gas for 4-5 years but still spending less than the cost of a new leaf.

RE: Wear and tear
By Mint on 3/29/2014 1:24:03 PM , Rating: 2
What's the use of choosing a 4-5 year timeframe? Cars have resale value after that, last ~10 years more on average, and need gas over their whole life.

If you want a net cost, then look at a 3 year lease plus fuel. You can drive a new LEAF 36k miles over 3 years for about $10k total, including fuel and maintenance.

Go find a new gas car that cheap. Even a lowly Versa will run you $1k more over that time.

RE: Wear and tear
By GotThumbs on 3/28/2014 12:35:49 PM , Rating: 3
Anyone that continually runs over road "Hazards" needs to NOT drive a low slung car like Tesla's or any other brand.

They should clearly be driving something with higher clearance or simply not driving if they can't handle the responsibility of driving on public roads and focus on the roadway conditions.

The driver is always the one in control (speed, following distance, etc. )of the car and thus should be driving defensively for just such a situation.

Following too close behind the vehicle ahead hides potential road hazards until its too late to avoid them. It's not the cars fault. It's the drivers.

You can't fix stupid, but you shouldn't be so quick to blame the car for the impact of these objects.

Put the responsibility where it clearly belongs.

RE: Wear and tear
By ipay on 3/28/2014 12:50:53 PM , Rating: 2
Nawh... It really doesn't get worn out any more that a brick does. Unless it is struck significantly, there is nothing to worry about, and when it is, a visual inspection will be all that is needed. Ti is stiff, has good elongation properties and tensile strength, and has great fatigue strength properties.

RE: Wear and tear
By piroroadkill on 3/28/2014 1:05:57 PM , Rating: 2
What the hell are you talking about? How many times have you checked your fuel tank for "slowly worn out" damage?

There's no way the shield should be being significantly damaged in regular use unless you like off-roading over rocks in your Model S.

RE: Wear and tear
By tng on 3/28/2014 2:18:47 PM , Rating: 2
I'd think the better option is to add sensors that detect compromises in the shield
What kind of sensor would that be exactly?

By TheDoc9 on 3/28/2014 11:29:28 AM , Rating: 3
Hope it helps alleviate fears for this awesome car.

RE: Cool
By Argon18 on 3/28/14, Rating: -1
RE: Cool
By Mint on 3/28/2014 3:09:20 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting. Apparently everyone who comments about a car being awesome is the CEO of the company that makes it...

RE: Cool
By Cheesew1z69 on 3/28/2014 3:11:25 PM , Rating: 2
Well, are you responding to a troll.

RE: Cool
By Reclaimer77 on 3/28/2014 4:04:41 PM , Rating: 1
Well his post was stupid because if anyone here is Elon Musk, it's YOU :)

RE: Cool
By SPOOFE on 3/28/2014 5:39:15 PM , Rating: 2
I think Reclaimer is Elon Musk, acting like an absolute extremist troll to make all detractors of his company look bad.

RE: Cool
By Reclaimer77 on 3/28/2014 7:08:57 PM , Rating: 2
Says the person who's username is a troll parody of Spook's...

RE: Cool
By SPOOFE on 3/28/2014 7:47:39 PM , Rating: 2
Oh noes, my username sounds sorta like another username!

A perfect example if the smartest Reclaimer is capable of being. Hey, tell us more about how it's safer for cars to have more fires with no discernible cause. I'll wait. :)

lowers the range by .1%
By typicalGeek on 3/28/2014 6:24:48 PM , Rating: 2
Why the heck would anyone even try to mention this?

Given the EPA range of the 85KWh model S is 265 miles, adding the plate and having the range lowered by 0.1% of that is just 0.265 miles, about 1-1/2 city blocks. Likely not even a measurable amount in "real driving" terms.

RE: lowers the range by .1%
By Guspaz on 3/28/2014 6:49:14 PM , Rating: 3
Because if Musk doesn't say anything about range, people will exaggerate the reduction. And if he claimed there was no reduction, they'd claim he was lying.

RE: lowers the range by .1%
By flyingpants1 on 3/29/2014 12:43:12 PM , Rating: 2
Are you retarded? Adding weight lowers the range of the car. It's important to state by how much.

By Richard875yh5 on 3/31/2014 5:26:48 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't it Titanium that burns and when it catches on fire, it is hard to put out?

RE: Tesla
By rountad on 4/1/2014 9:25:54 AM , Rating: 2
I think that you're thinking of magnesium.

RE: Tesla
By zen_technica on 4/3/2014 8:50:37 PM , Rating: 2
Actually titanium is a class D flammable metal and burns like the dickens.

Check youtube.

Ahhh, good old Daily Tech
By jjmcubed on 3/28/2014 4:45:40 PM , Rating: 2
Is it me or are you starting to run out of down votes these days???

Should I only be downvoting for off topic or is it a disagree button?Love the lively discussions even if there tends to be to many personal insults flying around.

RE: Ahhh, good old Daily Tech
By SeeManRun on 3/28/2014 5:10:36 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't it say "Not worth reading"? Sounds like a post to me that adds nothing to the conversation/trolling. Not a disagree button.

By captainBOB on 3/29/2014 11:33:06 PM , Rating: 3
Not disappointed in the least.

Stay classy guys.

By zen_technica on 4/3/2014 8:55:38 PM , Rating: 2
Does anyone else think it's a funny design choice to use a Class D flammable metal like titanium to prevent fires?

It's not a terrible choice mechanically, titanium is hella strong and should protect those batteries well. But if the fire starts by some other means, the fire department is going to have a heck of a surprise if that plating starts to go.

Anyone who doubts this, check the various fire department videos on youtube of titanium storage facilities going up. They're pretty epic fire.

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