Thursday, November 21, 2013

Key Fact: Gasoline Cars Fire Risk Is 5 Times Greater Than Tesla But Feds Investigate Tesla

The bed-of-roses period has come to an end for Tesla. It is now under fire for fires. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating the safety of the Tesla Model S.

Proving once more that he is no shrinking violet, Elon Musk is out with a strong statement, defending Tesla's performance and attacking the media treatment of 3 Tesla fires. Here it is:

Musk's statement stands on the foundation of facts that establish the risk of a fire in a gasoline powered vehicle is 5 times greater than the risk of a fire in a Tesla.  Musk notes that there have been about 250,000 gasoline vehicle fires, in which 400 people died, since Teslas took to the road.

There are currently approximately 19,000 Teslas driving our roads and again 3 of them have caught fire following an accident. If Tesla had the same fire rate as gasoline cars, 16 to 17 Teslas would have caught fire by this point.

Most importantly, nobody died or was injured in the 3 fires, one of which happened in Mexico.  Moreover, Tesla has been judged to be the safest car ever produced by Consumer Reports.  Moreover, Tesla has said it will increase the road clearance of future models to reduce further fire risks.

Yet, Musk is facing a media environment were a video of a burning Tesla could well lead the national news. And that media environment has caused Tesla's stock to lose about 35% since its peak. Ouch!


  1. The other major electric car in the US, the Nissan Leaf, hasn't had problems with fire. Gasoline powered cars, when working properly, incompletely burn fuel and put out out dirty air pollution which causes numerous health hazards, including asthma. When something goes wrong, gasoline is designed to burn, so car fires happen all too often with our current gas powered system. There are many reasons to switch to electric cars as soon as we can.