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New Tesla Fire Fans Concerns About Model S Safety

Blaze consumes Toronto owner’s garage.

by on Feb.14, 2014

Toronto firefighters examine damage after extinguishing a fire involving a Tesla Model S. Image courtesy: BusinessInsider.com.

Just days after Tesla stock hit an all-time record another fire involving the battery-car maker’s Model S is raising new safety concerns.

The latest battery blaze occurred in Toronto after the owner returned from a drive and parked the electric sedan in their garage.  Moments later, the owner’s fire detector reportedly went off and the fire department was called to the scene.

The incident is the fourth reported fire involving a Model S in recent months, including two in the U.S. and another in Mexico.  The earlier incidents raised questions about the safety of the Model S design and initially triggered a sharp decline in Tesla’s soaring stock price.  Shares had been recovering in recent weeks but took a tumble again on Friday.

The Last Word!

“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,” said Tesla in a statement that insisted, “The Model S continues to have the best safety track record of any vehicle in the world.”


GM to Make “Voluntary Enhancements” to Chevrolet Volt

Maker insists reports of post-crash test fires hasn’t hurt halo car’s image.

by on Jan.05, 2012

GM will begin modifying Volts on the assembly line immediately, with dealers modifying customer vehicles starting in February.

General Motors will make a series of “enhancements” to ensure there is no risk of its Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric vehicle catching fire after a side-impact crash.  The move follows reports last month that several Volt battery packs either caught fire or smoked and sparked several weeks after aggressive crash testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

While Mark Reuss, GM’s president of the Americas, said he couldn’t answer for the NHTSA he expressed confidence his company’s announcement will lead government safety regulators to wrap up their investigation into possible problems with the Volt battery pack.

News You Can Use!

The updates to the Volt will not impact the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery pack itself but will reinforce the vehicle structure to prevent the battery coolant system from being penetrated – as happened in the NHTSA testing – while also reducing the risk coolant fluid could spill onto sensitive electronic components.

“We have made the Volt even safer,” Reuss declared during his remarks, adding that if he didn’t think the Volt was already safe “I wouldn’t allow” his own family to continue using the vehicle on a daily basis.


Leaf, Volt Earn Top Crash Ratings

IIHS announces results of first-ever mainstream battery-car crash tests.

by on Apr.26, 2011

The new Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt battery cars earn IIHS Top Safety Pick endorsements.

A new report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety should calm those concerned about the safety of the new battery car technology.  After a series of crash tests, the IIHS has awarded the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt its highest safety ratings

The trade group says the results – which came from the first test of mainstream battery-powered vehicles – shows that the industry is putting the same focus on safety engineering for the new vehicles that is going into today’s more conventional vehicles.

Volt and Leaf not earned the institute’s top, “Good” rating in front, side, rear and rollover crash protection, but were named IIHS “Top Safety Picks.”

News and Reviews You Can Use!

“What powers the wheels is different, but the level of safety for the Volt and Leaf is as high as any of our other top crash test performers,” said Joe Nolan, IIHS chief administrative officer.

The IIHS results add to the series of awards garnered by the Chevy and Nissan battery cars since their introduction in December.  Just last week, Leaf was named World Car of the Year by a panel of 66 automotive journalists from around the world.  Volt took honors as World Green Car, and was named North American Car of the Year by U.S. and Canadian journalists in January.