Tesla CEO confident Model S will not be recalled after 3 fire incidents

Article by Anita Panait, on November 14, 2013

Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive of Tesla Motors Inc., expressed confidence that the Model S sedan would not be recalled. However, such recall may occur if the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decides to start a defect investigation following three fire occurrences in five weeks involving the Model S.

Such probe might start if the agency found that the fires were caused by any defects on Tesla’s electric car. "There's no Pinto moment here," remarked Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing at Edmunds.com, referring to the Ford car recall in the 1970s following gasoline fires that led to fatalities.

He added that NHTSA may look at the Tesla fires and conclude that “it's actually not that bad." The first fire involving a Tesla Model S occurred on Oct. 1, 2013 in Washington state, in which the vehicle struck a piece of metal on the road.

NHTSA said on Oct. 24 that it found no evidence the first fire was a result of defects or violations of US safety standards. The second fire occurred on Oct. 18, 2013 in Mexico following a crash. The third fire occurred in Smyrna, Tennessee last week after its driver said he ran over a trailer hitch loose in the road at 70 mph.

Just two months ago, the Tesla Model S received the top five-star rating in each category of the NHTSA crash tests. Musk remarked to Bloomberg in New York that Tesla is in constant contact with regulators at NHTSA. He remarked that the agency has “real problems to deal with where people die or are seriously injured,” adding that NHTSA’s time is preoccupied with those concerns, “not with fictional issues created by the media."

Tesla’s Model S is the first completely electric automobile. It is the next step in automotive design. Blending safety, performance, and efficiency, it resets expectations for a 21st-century car with the utmost possible safety rankings, a range longer than any other electric automobile, and continuous software updates to constantly improve it.

Tesla Architecture

Based on Tesla’s platform, the battery's placement on the floor provides the Model S with a very low centre of gravity, reducing greatly the rollover risk, while simultaneously improving performance and handling. Without its engine, the Model S’s crumple zone is much bigger than other high-quality sedans to absorb energy from any front-end impacts.


The Model S is among the safest on the road. Much of this safety comes from the singular electronic drivetrain under the car. The Model S has a low centre of gravity, lessening rollover risk. The Model S has a safety record proven by its NHTSA and Euro NCAP 5-star safety rating. It also set a record for being least likely to injure occupants when tested in the U.S.

With active safety features standard including automatic emergency braking, collision warning, blind spot detection, lane departure warning, and with optional features like traffic-aware cruise control, autosteer, auto-park, and summon, the Model S still is the safest.

Electric All Wheel Drive

Having two motors, one in front and one in back, the Model S electronically and autonomously maintains torque to the wheels in front and back. The effect is unmatched traction control in every condition. Unlike regular all-wheel drive automobiles that compromise fuel efficiency for better traction, Tesla's Electric All Wheel Drive improves efficiency.

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