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Posts Tagged ‘auto fires’

Tesla CEO Musk Insists Model S Safe Despite Fire

Battery sedan “safer” than gasoline-powered cars, Musk insists.

by on Oct.07, 2013

The images shown on the Internet "exaggerate" the Tesla Model S fire, claims vehicle's owner.

Investors may be worrying about the impact of a fire that severely damaged a Tesla Model S battery car last week, but the maker’s CEO is not only defending the design of the electric vehicle but arguing that the accident proves it safer than a comparable, gasoline-fueled vehicle.

Fond of using the Internet to get his messages across, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk took to the company’s blog to respond to concerns about a fire that erupted under the hood of a Model S last Tuesday, an incident that was captured on video and has been widely viewed on Youtube and other sites. There were no injuries in the incident, apparently in part due to the vehicle’s own warning system which advised the driver to pull over and exit before the fire erupted in the battery compartment.

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The vehicle’s owner – who is also a Tesla shareholder – reported to rescue crews arriving on the scene that he had apparently struck metal debris on the road in suburban Seattle. In his blog report, CEO Musk echoed that, reporting that the vehicle took a hit powerful enough to punch a 3-inch hole through the armor plate designed to protect the Model S battery pack.


GM Contends Fire Problem Even More Common with Gasoline.

Maker aiming to downplay problem with Chevy Volt batteries.

by on Dec.13, 2011

GM struggles to head off a PR problem with the Volt.

Embarrassed by reports that the batteries in several of its Chevrolet Volts caught fire after crash tests, General Motors is fighting back by pointing out that there are more than 215,000 car fires annually in the U.S. involving vehicles fueled by gasoline.

GM is facing an increasingly serious nightmare in the wake of the fires at National Highway Traffic Safety Administration test facilities.  While there have been no reports of fires involving Chevy Volt plug-in hybrids owned by the public there are clear signs of concern among potential buyers and several Volt dozen owners have reportedly taken GM up on its offer to buy the vehicles back.

Meanwhile, Congress plans to investigate the issue, House Republicans questioning whether GM and the Obama administration are covering up more serious problems with the Volt.

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But GM is fighting back, pointing out that cars fueled with gasoline are also routinely involved in fires.  And the automaker has pointed out that after crash testing NHTSA routinely empties vehicle gas tanks.  It did so on the Volt but failed to also discharge the plug-in’s batteries as required by the maker’s post-crash protocol.


Feds Investigating Fire Risk With Millions Of Jeeps

As many as 3 million SUVs could be targeted.

by on Aug.25, 2010

NHTSA begins an investigation into potential fire risks with the 1992 - 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

A preliminary investigation has been opened by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration into reports that the plastic fuel tanks on as many as 3 million Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs could be prone to rupture during a rear-end collision, creating a potential fire risk.

The investigation does not ensure a recall will follow, but if NHTSA does order a fix, it would be one of the year’s largest, dwarfed only by the pair of recalls by Toyota to repair problems that can cause sudden acceleration problems.

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The Jeep investigation was triggered by a complaint by the consumer advocacy group, the Center for Auto Safety, (CAS) which argues that the placement of the fuel tank in 1993 through 2004 Grand Cherokees, behind the rear axle and below the back bumper, means it is vulnerable to damage in a rear-end collision.  Should it leak, a ruptured or damaged tank would create a fire hazard following a collision.

The potential problem does not involve the brand-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, nor the outgoing model, launched in 2005.  CAS data indicate the older Jeeps have a fatal fire rate six times higher than that of the more recent Grand Cherokee – and about four times higher than competing sport-utility vehicles.