After three Tesla Model S fires in twice as many weeks, some have begun to question the safety of the $70,000+ performance electric vehicle.
Of course, if you take these fires out of perspective, it might seem that there is some inherent problem with the Tesla Model S, in spite of its great looks, performance, and popularity. Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk says “there’s definitely not going to be a recall,” citing that the Tesla Model S is one of America’s safest cars, citing an NHTSA [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration] Five-Star Crash Test Rating.
In spite of the fact that there have been three Tesla Model S fires, a recall is unlikely, and an NHTSA investigation is probably just as unlikely. Considering the numbers, I find it hard to believe that the Tesla Model S opponents, who say that it takes just a bump to set one of these things on fire, aren’t even more concerned over the hundreds of thousands of conventional vehicle fires that occur every year. Why are we still running gasoline in these rolling firebombs?
According to Elon Musk, the Tesla Model S is “about five times less likely to have a fire than an average gasoline car.” The media reaction has been “unreasonable.” If my math is right, the Tesla Model S is more like ten times less likely to be involved in a car fire. In the words of recent Tennessee Tesla Model S fire survivor Juris Shibayama, “I would buy one in a heartbeat,” if I had that kind of cash, and if they delivered to Perú.
Image © Simon Dawson/Bloomberg