New Tesla Fire Raises Questions

tesla-storeTesla, the upstart Silicon Valley company that’s proved an entrepreneurial automaker far from Detroit can make an exceptional and aspirational electric car, is embroiled in yet another fire controversy. Even as the National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA) continues its investigation into two crash-related Model S fires in the U.S. (but not a third fire in Mexico that’s out of its jurisdiction), this advanced electric car’s safety continues to raise questions.

The latest is the subject of media reports involving a fire in Toronto, Canada earlier this month, in which a Model S is involved while reportedly parked in a garage and unplugged. While conclusions have not yet been reached by Canadian authorities, a Tesla statement says the company has identified that the fire did not originate in the car’s battery or any components involved in charging.

Tesla maintains that the Model S has no battery issues and has an exceptional safety track record, and indeed the model achieved top five star crash testing scores across the board in NHTSA test protocols. However, what remains unexplained is whether there are specific issues that must be addressed to prevent further crash-related fires, thus NHTSA’s ongoing investigation.

This is a topic of sometimes passionate debate as Tesla proponents vigorously defend the model while others point to unintended consequences of battery power. It will be interesting to watch reactions and commentary once the NHTSA investigation is complete.