“Why does a Tesla fire w no injury get more media headlines than 100,000 gas car fires that kill 100s of people per year?” read a recent tweet by Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk.
Well, here’s probably why: because this type of thing has happened before on a bigger scale in a different industry, potentially still fresh in people’s minds.
Blame Lithium-Ion Batteries! Right?
Actually, in this case, the blame goes to the quarter-inch-thick metal plate separating the Tesla Model S’s lithium-ion battery from the road, and to the metal object in the road that pierced that plate and sparked the battery fire in one case, and the trailer hitch in another, according to the Washington Post.
“Experts say that if the batteries are damaged, that can cause arcing and sparks and touch off a fire,” the article stated.
Evidently, the shield had been more easily pierced by the road debris in the handful of car conflagrations because the bottom of the car rides so low to the ground. But it looks like Juris Shibayama, for one (according to Tesla) doesn’t care and would even buy another. Hmm…
Now it’s in the hands of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is investigating the car fires. “The investigation could lead to a recall, but a decision likely is months away,” WaPo reported.
Lithium-ion batteries just can’t catch a break in 2013.
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