CEO, Owner Defend Tesla Model S After Fire


  • 2013 Tesla Model S Picture

    2013 Tesla Model S Picture

    Tesla Motors has mounted a vigorous defense of its electric Model S after one car caught fire last week following a crash. | October 07, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk defended the Tesla Model S after a fire in one of the cars and got some backup from the car's owner as well.
  • Musk blamed the fire on a curved object that fell off a semi-trailer and impaled the underside of the Model S, starting a fire in the battery pack.
  • Robert Carlson, the car's owner, said "the car performed very well under such an extreme test" and noted that he is "still a big fan."

PALO ALTO, California — Tesla CEO Elon Musk defended the Tesla Model S after a fire in one of the cars and got some backup from the car's owner as well.

Musk blamed the fire on a curved object that fell off a semi-trailer and impaled the underside of the Model S, starting a fire in the battery pack.

Robert Carlson, the car's owner, said "the car performed very well under such an extreme test" and noted that he is "still a big fan."

The defense of the car followed an accident in Washington state last week and a video of the fire that went viral.

"It is important to note that the fire in the battery was contained to a small section near the front by the internal firewalls built into the pack structure," wrote Musk in a posting on the Tesla Web site on Friday. "Had a conventional gasoline car encountered the same object on the highway, the result could have been far worse."

He added: "For consumers concerned about fire risk, 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."

Tesla also posted an e-mail exchange between the car's owner and a Tesla executive. Carlson, who also said he is a Tesla investor, said "the batteries went through a controlled burn which the Internet images really exaggerates (sic)."

The Washington State Patrol is still investigating the incident.

Tesla shares rose 4.4 percent to $180.98 at the close of trading on Friday.

Edmunds says: Tesla stock is expected to continue its rebound on Monday, after some reassuring words from Elon Musk and the car's owner.

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