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NHTSA: No Further Probe Of Tesla Model S Electric-Car Fire


Tesla Model S in flames near Kent, Washington [frame from YouTube video]

Tesla Model S in flames near Kent, Washington [frame from YouTube video]

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has decided not to investigate the first fire involving a Tesla Model S luxury electric car.

The agency said it found no evidence that the post-crash fire resulted from a vehicle defect or violations of U.S. safety regulations, Bloomberg reports.

The NHTSA was looking into the recent fire that engulfed a Tesla Model S electric car in Washington state, according to a Detroit News report on October 22.

At the time, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said the agency was "collecting data" on the incident.

2013 Tesla Model S

2013 Tesla Model S

Enlarge Photo

Because the Model S fire happened during the U.S. government shutdown, investigators weren't dispatched at the time.

The fire occurred near Kent, Washington after the Model S collided with a piece of metal debris. According to an investigation and assessment by Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA], the metal object pierced a hole in the plating that protects the car's underside.

The flames were contained within the battery pack; the cabin was left untouched. Firefighters reported that they had to drill holes in the pack to fully extinguish the blaze.

The car's owner (and Tesla investor) Rob Carlson said he was impressed by the car's performance during the incident, and planned on buying another.

A 2011 fire in the battery pack of a wrecked Chevrolet Volt several days after the car had been crashed in an NHTSA test generated enormous media coverage and even a Congressional hearing.

It was later determined that wrecking-yard personnel had not de-energized the battery pack; standard procedure for wrecked cars with high-voltage battery packs.

The NHTSA issued a report saying the Volt was as safe as any other car.

Has Tesla dodged a public-relations bullet?

Tell us your thoughts in the Comments below.

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