NHTSA asks Tesla to submit all pertinent fire-related Model S documents

Article by Anita Panait, on December 5, 2013

The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has asked Tesla Motors to submit detailed pertinent records until January 14, 2014, as part of its probe into the fire incidents involving Tesla Model S vehicles. The records include customer complaints, field reports, warranty claims and property damage claims to assess defect allegations.

The probe aims to look into possibility of road debris impacting the battery pack of the vehicle and causing a short, stall or fire. According to a report by Detroit News, the NHTSA is seeking the results of any internal "tests, studies, surveys, simulations, internal investigations and any other Tesla efforts" to probe allegations of a defect in the Model S.

Tesla has to inform the government whether it has implemented any "changes to the design, material, composition or function" of the Model S to address defect allegations.

In a letter, the NHTSA asked Tesla to "describe in detail all possible consequences to the vehicle from an impact to the subject component that damages the battery.”

The regulator has also asked the carmaker how it addressed those possible consequences in the design of the vehicle. NHTSA also asked Tesla to discuss the limits of the design to prevent damage to the propulsion battery, stalling and fires.

The carmaker is likewise asked to submit any documents issued to dealers, regional offices, fleet purchasers and other entities related to the alleged defect –bulletins, advisories and informational documents. Tesla is also asked to submit detailed engineering drawings of the "subject component," including all battery components and sub-assemblies.

Model S is powered by two motors, one on the front and another on the rear. With these motors, the Model S could digitally and independently control torque to its front and rear wheels, resulting in amazing traction control in any condition. Interestingly, Tesla's Electric All Wheel Drive system increases efficiency as traction is hiked, unlike conventional all-wheel drive models that typically have to consume more fuel for increased traction.

These two electric motors are powerful enough to send the Model S sprinting from zero to 60 mph in around 2.8 seconds, making it the quickest four-door sedan so far. Aside from this superior sprinting capability, the new Model S boasts of superior handling. This is thanks to the fact that the Model has a very low center of gravity, as made possible by locating the battery pack along the floor pan and between the axles.

In terms of interior space, the new Model S is large enough to accommodate five adults and two children (in rear-facing jump seats) as well as their cargo. This was made possible by the fact that the Model S has no internal combustion engine, Tesla Model S allows for additional cargo space and offers a spacious cabin fitting five adults and two children.

One of the technological advances found in the Model S is its 17-inch center touch screen that smoothly integrates a number of functions -- navigation, media, communications, vehicle data and cabin control -- into a single intuitive interface. Several of these functions can also be found on the instrument panel and can be activated through voice.

As an electric sedan, the Model S consumes zero gasoline and is rated by the EPA to have a fuel efficiency rating of an equivalent of 90 mpg.

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