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Tesla Fires: NHTSA Will Probe, Warranty To Cover Fire Damage, Ride-Height Tweak

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Third Tesla Model S catches fire after hitting road debris. Photo via Twitter user @NASHVILLAIN_

Third Tesla Model S catches fire after hitting road debris. Photo via Twitter user @NASHVILLAIN_

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It's been quite a month for Tesla Motors and its CEO, Elon Musk.

In the wake of three fires in Model S electric luxury sedans, a tsunami of media coverage about those fires, and a falling stock price--which may or may not be directly related--the company went on the offensive yesterday.

MORE: Tesla Fires: What We Know, And What We Need To Find Out

Musk posted a long message on the company's website, saying that Tesla was taking three separate actions to address the fires and the public perceptions of Model S safety.

First, he wrote, the company will update the software on Model S cars to increase their ride height at highway speeds. The goal is to reduce the potential severity of underbody impacts from road debris--which is thought to be the cause of at least two of the three fires.

Tesla Model S fire near Smyrna, Tennessee, Nov 2013 (image: Instagram - Davanh)

Tesla Model S fire near Smyrna, Tennessee, Nov 2013 (image: Instagram - Davanh)

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Second, Musk said Tesla requested the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to investigate the fires as soon as possible.

This would have been a smart move.

Unfortunately, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland told a House panel today that, in fact, Tesla had not made such a request.

According to The Detroit News, Strickland said his agency made an independent decision to investigate 13,100 Model S cars on U.S. roads.

MORE: NHTSA Launches Formal investigation Of Tesla Model S Fires

Finally, Musk wrote, Tesla will expand its Model S warranty to cover all damage from any vehicle fires.

The note from Musk contains the following phrase, one perhaps never before issued by any automaker: "Unless a Model S owner actively tries to destroy the car, they are covered."

This one too seems like a smart move, as a kind of insurance policy that very few owners will ever have to take advantage of.

There will undoubtedly be more to come in the ever-evolving Tesla saga--but that's today's update.

What's your reaction to all the Tesla drama?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.

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