Tesla Adds Steel Underbody Plate to Prevent Fires

By | March 28, 2014
Last year, Tesla made headlines for fires that started after debris pierced the battery packs in the Model S. While the drivers walked away unharmed, the few incidents received more attention than the 200,000 gasoline car fires that happened in 2013. The electric automaker came under some major heat for this issue, even though the Model S is loaded with safety features, including one that prompts the driver and passengers to exit the car before any semblance of a fire becomes noticeable. To remedy the situation, Tesla issued an over-the-air software update to increase ground clearance of the Model S at highway speeds. But that didn't seem to be enough to ease the customers' minds. Now, Tesla has started adding a triple underbody shield to new Model S vehicles as of March 6, and will retrofit shields to existing models.
The first shield is a rounded, hollow aluminum bar, followed by a titanium plate, and a shallow angle, solid aluminum extrusion to absorb impact energy. With this setup, Tesla Motors is confident that the underbody shields will not impact driving, handling, drag, or lift. The vehicle's electric range also will not be impacted. After rounds of testing, the automaker said in a statement that "the shields prevented any damage that could cause a fire or penetrate the existing quarter inch of ballistic grade aluminum armor plate that already protects the battery pack." Source: Tesla via Medium.com