NHTSA will not open formal probe into October 1 Tesla Model S fire

Article by Anita Panait, on October 28, 2013

The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has decided not to open a formal probe into a Tesla Model S fire that broke out after it ran over debris on a Washington state highway. NHTSA, in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg, said that it found no evidence that the Oct. 1, 2013 fire resulted from a vehicle defect or violations of US safety standards.

The regulator didn't field investigators to the scene of the Tesla Model S fire since it was the first day of a 16-day US government shutdown. Following consultations with Tesla, NHTSA decided not to commence an investigation process, which can result to recalls.

NHTSA Administrator David Strickland remarked on Oct. 22 that the regulator was "gathering data" on the fire, which wrecked the Model S.

NHTSA launched formal investigations into fires in two other battery-powered vehicles -- the Chevrolet Volt and the Fisker Karma – which led to recalls. According to Tesla, the lithium ion battery in the Model S caught fire after the sedan collided with a large metallic object on a road in Kent, Wash.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk stood up for the car's safety in an Oct. 5 blog post, saying that the crash was unusual and would have also resulted in a fire even if the vehicle is conventionally powered by gasoline.

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