Feds To Investigate Tesla Model S Fire After All

model-s-fire-1Remember when Elon Musk said there would “definitely” not be any recall on the Tesla Model S despite a trio of high-profile fires? Well the all-electric automaker is now under investigation by the NHTSA, and the Federal agency has flat-out denied Tesla’s claim that it requested the investigation itself.

Yesterday, Musk said via Twitter that Tesla had “invited” the NHTSA to investigate the Model S for possible safety issues with a formal report. However the head of the NHTSA, David Strickland, says that no such request was made, and if it did it would almost certainly be indicative of a recall. It seems like Musk got called out on stretching the truth, again.

Elon Musk may have inserted his foot into his mouth with the “no recall” statement and this investigation, but Tesla has also taken steps to ensure customer confidence. This includes an extension of the original warranty to now cover fire damage, even if it is the driver’s fault, in order to shore up confidence in the all-electric luxury sedan. It’s a bold move, no doubt, though it seems a wee bit…desperate?

Just because an investigation has been launched, however, doesn’t mean a recall is inevitable, as the NHTSA’s investigation of the Chevy Volt turned up no issues, though GM reinforced the battery pack anyways. It could take up to six months before any formal findings are released, and keep in mind that in the case of both American Tesla fires, the car provided ample warning and time for the driver to pull over and exit the vehicle before catching on fire, and there haven’t been any injuries from these events thus far.

However, Tesla also patented a much-stronger battery pack with a built-in firewall, suggesting that the company knew these “thermal runaway” events could pose a fire hazard. While one recall does not a broken car make, Musk’s absolute declarations certainly aren’t helping, and eventually could become a liability as Tesla matures. Time to reign it in, Elon.

Source: The Detroit News

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.