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This is the third fire in under a two-month period

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has decided to look into the latest fire involving Tesla Motors' Model S. 

According to The Detroit News, NHTSA will review what is now the third Model S to catch fire in under a two-month period. This most recent incident took place near Smyrna, Tennessee. 

The Tennessee fire took place when a Model S driver hit a tow hitch on Interstate 24, which damaged the car’s undercarriage and caused a fire. The driver was able to exit the vehicle safely.

“NHTSA is in close communication with Tesla and local authorities gathering information about the incident to determine if additional action is necessary,” said NHTSA.

Special focus is being placed on the fact that the Model S' battery is located near the underside, making the battery an easy target when striking debris or hitting pavement -- thus increasing the risk of a fire.

This could lead to stronger methods of protecting the EV's battery pack. 

NHTSA has not opened a formal investigation on the Tesla crashes yet, likely because this is the first incident it's addressing.


Model S fire in Smyrna, Tenn. [Image Source: Associated Press]

But this isn't the first Tesla fire to occur. In early October, a Model S driver in Kent, Washington was traveling southbound on state Route 167 when he hit a piece of metal debris on the freeway. He then exited the freeway, and the car became disabled right before he smelled something burning. The car caught fire.
 
Tesla spokeswoman Liz Jarvis-Shean said the fire was caused by a large metallic object hitting one of the battery pack’s modules. NHTSA did not investigate the fire at the time because of the partial government shutdown, which suspended such activity. 

Another Model S fire occurred shortly after in Mexico, but that's out of NHTSA's jurisdiction. 

Tesla said all three fires were caused by crashes; not spontaneous events.

Tesla and its Model S have been in the spotlight a lot this year after the company successfully paid off its government loans nine years early, pulled a profit, unveiled new tech for its electric car and the Model S even snagged the highest safety rating from the NHTSA. But it's unclear if this hiccup will further heighten the fear surrounding lithium ion batteries for cars, and possibly even take a toll on Model S sales. 

Source: The Detroit News



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RE: Lithium batteries burn
By Flunk on 11/11/2013 12:15:19 PM , Rating: 2
Actually gas does burn like this, if the gas tank was were the battery on the Tesla Model S is the results would be much worse. For examples, please look up the Ford Pinto or early 90's GM trucks which both had gas tanks that were vulnerable to collisions because they were located poorly.


RE: Lithium batteries burn
By Reclaimer77 on 11/11/2013 12:23:33 PM , Rating: 2
The Pinto used a known flawed design that hasn't been repeated in decades. How is that illustrative of anything relevant to today?

Oh the GM truck thing? Known urban legend. News networks would "duplicate" it by blowing up trucks with TNT!


RE: Lithium batteries burn
By alpha754293 on 11/11/2013 12:40:18 PM , Rating: 2
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed here are solely that of my own and are not representative of Ford Motor Company or its affiliates.

Apparently, when I was involved in the discussions about the Jeep Grand Cherokees and Jeep Liberty - I was told that the "Pinto" design is actually still used (quite a lot, according to claims by Chrysler and other people that were telling me I'm wrong.)

Chrysler originally said that they WEREN'T going to recall those vehicles after their gas tanks had caught fire, but ended up doing it anyways. (You can run a google news search for the article/references since this site/the comments section doesn't necessarily always lets me put hotlinks in it.)

And if it can happen with those products as recently as summer this year, I would think that it's very plausible that the GM '90s trucks thing was real.


RE: Lithium batteries burn
By Cheesew1z69 on 11/11/2013 1:01:21 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed here are solely that of my own and are not representative of Ford Motor Company or its affiliates.
Seriously? Every f'ing post?


RE: Lithium batteries burn
By s12033722 on 11/12/2013 6:58:35 PM , Rating: 3
Disclaimers like this are commonly required by the legal departments of large employers anytime their employees make social media posts about anything relating to their business. Quite whining.


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