NHTSA says finds no 'defect trend' in Tesla Model S sedans

Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:00am EDT

People pass by the Tesla New York City store is seen in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York March 19, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

People pass by the Tesla New York City store is seen in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York March 19, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - U.S. safety regulators said they closed an investigation into fires involving electric sports car maker Tesla Motors Inc's (TSLA.O) popular Model S sedans after finding no "defect trend", sending the company's shares up as much as 4 percent.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began its investigation after two cars in the United States and one in Mexico caught fire.

The two U.S. fires started after the driver ran over debris in the road, damaging the battery pack that runs along the base of the Model S.

Tesla responded by raising the ground clearance at highway speeds and taking steps to prevent overheating of its charging systems, including giving customers upgraded wall adapters and providing charging-software upgrades.

"Tesla's revision of vehicle ride height and addition of increased underbody protection should reduce both the frequency of underbody strikes and the resultant fire risk," the NHTSA said on its website. (r.reuters.com/tyn97v)

The regulator said that while a "defect trend" had not been identified, the closing of the investigation did not constitute a finding that a safety-related defect did not exist.

Tesla's shares were up 1.9 percent at $211.35 in early trading on the Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey and Ted Kerr)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (4)
Fahey wrote:
The news investors have been waiting for. Good stuff.

Mar 28, 2014 10:15am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Albertico wrote:
Now all those Tesla trolls that claim Tesla is a fire hazard and has been involved in many fires (lies) can shut up

Mar 28, 2014 1:07pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
MewCAt wrote:
What about this part of the report?

In a Mar. 10, 2014 meeting with ODI, Tesla stated it would conduct a free-of-charge service
campaign to modify the SVs by adding three new components to the vehicle’s undercarriage to protect the HVB. A
low-hanging transverse member and an additional underbody plate would be mounted forward of the HVB case and a
third plate would overlap the leading edge of the case. Testing conducted by Tesla demonstrated that these
modifications improved protection from debris impacts.

Mar 28, 2014 4:16pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.