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Tesla Reports Another Model S Fire
For the third time in six weeks, Tesla is making headlines with fires in its Model S electric vehicle. The latest incident occurred outside of Nissan Motor Co.'s Smyrna Tennessee plant, which is responsible for constructing the Leaf electric vehicle. Although each fire was the result of a crash or large objects on the road and not a spontaneous event, Tesla stocks have started to fall slightly once again. In early October, we reported on a Model S that caught fire after colliding with an object on the road. The fire was contained, thanks to the battery's internal firewalls, but it spread when the firemen punctured the battery pack when trying to extinguish the fire. The most recent fire was caused during an accident on a Smyrna, Tennessee highway, although police dispatcher Kathy Bryant mentioned that it was possible the Model S "ran over a piece of metal in the roadway," as there was significant damage done to the vehicle. Tesla spokeswoman Elizabeth Jarvis-Shean said in a statement, "Our team is on its way to Tennessee to learn more about what happened in the accident. We will provide more information when we're able to do so." The driver was able to make it safely to the side of the road and exit the vehicle, just 4 short miles from the Nissan plant exit. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, has repeatedly defended the safety of these vehicles, saying that it is "safer to power a car with a battery" than with gasoline. As of now, there are no plans to change the design of the electric vehicle's battery. This statement was confirmed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which said during its investigation of Chevy Volt fires that electric vehicles do not pose any greater combustion risk than gas-powered cars. The Model S has been out for some time, and with only three documented incidents of fires, it doesn't seem like a strong enough reason for the automaker to have so much media coverage. Even though there have only been three reported incidents, each of which was contained to the battery back, electric vehicles, especially the Model S, are under closer scrutiny than their gas-powered variants, which catch fire without making headlines. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
It seemed Tesla could do little wrong, but then the news started to change.