Tesla Motors is facing renewed scrutiny after one of its Model S sedans caught fire whilst sitting in a Toronto garage. The fire happened on February 1 and follows a number of Tesla Model S fires in the past six months.
Business Insider reports that the Tesla Model S owner parked up after a drive and, critically, left the car without plugging it in to charge. The length of time between parking up and the garage fire alarm sounding is reported as being just ‘a few moments’.
While the precise cause of the fire is not yet known, at least not publicly, Tesla has said that it didn’t originate from the car’s battery, charging system or the charging adapter, making this incident so far unique.
Tesla sent Business Insider the following statement.
“Dealing with occasional fires is something that every car company has to do, as no vehicle is completely fireproof under all circumstances.
What matters is the number of such incidents per car, and it is worth noting that gasoline car companies experience an average of five to ten times more fires per car than Tesla. Also extremely important is the fact that there has never been a serious injury or death in a Model S as a result of a fire or any other cause.
The Model S continues to have the best safety track record of any vehicle in the world. In this particular case, we don’t yet know the precise cause, but have definitively determined that it did not originate in the battery, the charging system, the adapter or the electrical receptacle, as these components were untouched by the fire.”
Tesla responded by sending no less than seven personnel to the owner and offered to cover the costs of the damage the fire caused to both the car and the garage. While the owner has reportedly declined this offer, the response and following gesture illustrates Tesla’s concern about this latest fire.
Last the year the company’s share price temporarily fell following a spate of fires resulting from forceful crashes. While each Model S did catch fire, it’s worth noting that in each case the car alerted the driver to a problem and contained the fires to a certain extent. There is yet to be a fatality in any Tesla Model S – the safest car the NHTSA has ever tested.
Misinformed hyperbole concerning the last year’s fires even prompted CEO Elon Musk to publicly address various media outlets last year, defending his company and the Model S. Reuters, in particular, stood accused of misreporting another garage fire.