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The Feds Are Investigating Tesla's Car Fires

The NHTSA and Tesla itself are taking recent electric car fires very seriously.

The Feds Are Investigating Tesla's Car Fires

[Image: Flickr user Matthew Venn]

Tesla's electric cars have been involved in a number of fires recently, and now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a formal investigation into the Model S's safety. The NHTSA is concerned about "undercarriage strikes," where debris on the road is kicked up to pierce the car's battery compartment.

Pre-empting the NHTSA's move, Tesla this morning released a new code update for the Model S that makes the vehicle ride higher on its suspension. In a post about the news Elon Musk also said he was asking safety regulators to conduct an investigation and had changed the Model S's warranty to cover fire damage.

Lithium battery fires have caused a lot of trouble for Boeing, and a debris strike caused a catastrophic issue for Concorde. But it's worth bearing in mind that any new technology is bound to encounter difficulties. Elon Musk has previously alleged that the fire risk for regular cars, filled with gasoline and flammable oils is five times higher than the risk for electric cars.