Elon Musk defends safety of Tesla Model S after fire incident

Article by Anita Panait, on October 7, 2013

Questions over the safety of the lithium ion battery pack powering the Tesla Model S have surfaced after a fire incident involving one of the sedans. This has prompted Tesla Motors Inc. chief executive Elon Musk to step up and defend the flagship’s safety. A Model S piloted in Kent, Washington, on Oct. 1 hit metal debris on the road.

In a statement, Musk said the object seems to be a "curved section" that fell off a semi-trailer. Tesla said that the sedan’s warning system alerted the driver to pull over and exit the vehicle, after which a fire broke out.

In the statement, Musk said that the “geometry of the object caused a powerful lever action as it went under the car, punching upward and impaling the Model S with a peak force on the order of 25 tons."

Musk noted that if the same thing happened to a conventional gasoline car, “the result could have been far worse."

News of the Model S fire sparked a 10-percent dive in Tesla’s shares over two days, reflecting worries that the incident may blemish the electric carmaker.

Musk ended the statement by saying that there should be “absolutely zero doubt that it is safer to power a car with a battery than a large tank of highly flammable liquid."

The Washington State Patrol and local authorities are probing the incident. A review by U.S. safety inspectors is not expected soon since they are among the furloughed employees during the U.S. government shutdown.

With two engines, one in the front and one in the rear, Tesla Model S digitally and independently operates torque to the front and rear wheels. The outcome is unrivalled traction control in all conditions. Unlike conventional all-wheel drive cars that relinquish fuel productivity for heightened traction, Tesla's Electric All Wheel Drive system amplifies proficiency.


Attaining 0-60 mph in a mere 2.8 seconds, Model S is the fastest four-door car ever constructed.

Premium handling is the product of a remarkably low center of gravity, due to the battery pack along the floor dish, centered between the axles. No other production vehicle has a more perfect situation of mass for ideal handling.


With no internal combustion engine, Tesla Model S allows for extra cargo space and provides an extensive cabin that could accommodate five adults and two kids (rear-facing jump seats).

Touch Screen

The 17" center touchscreen flawlessly incorporates media, navigation, communications, cabin control and car information into one intelligent interface. A lot of functions are reflected on the instrument panel and are voice-initiated to concentrate the driver's attention on the road.


Model S enables you to travel anywhere without wasting a single drop of gasoline. The EPA rates the proficiency of Tesla Model S as equal to 90 mpg.

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