John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Tesla Model S No Fire Hazard, Says German Auto Authority

Tesla_roadster_coilThe first of two investigations into impact-related fires in Tesla’s Model S has concluded, and it’s good news for the electric-car maker.

The German Federal Motor Transport Authority — essentially the Teutonic version of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — this week cleared the Model S of any role in the fires, saying no manufacturer-related defects could be found.

That clean bill of health from German auto-safety authorities follows three separate accidents in Mexico, Tennessee and Washington state, in which a Model S caught fire following a collision. The incidents have weighed heavily on Tesla’s share price, and elicited a vehement defense from founder and CEO Elon Musk, who has argued that fires in gasoline-powered cars occur far more often.

“Why does a Tesla fire w no injury get more media headlines than 100,000 gas car fires that kill 100s of people per year?” Musk said in a late-November tweet. “… What makes this incredibly unjust is that the Model S to date has the best safety record of any car on the road (no injuries or deaths ever).”

With the completion of the German probe, only the NHTSA investigation remains open. No word yet on when its findings will be released, but it’s worth noting that the agency has already given Tesla a top safety rating. And if it does find a flaw, Musk has pledged to fix it. “If NHTSA identifies an improvement that would materially improve safety, it will be implemented at no cost to all cars,” he said.

At $139.16, Tesla shares are up more than 12 percent as I write this.

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