DETROIT Dec 3 U.S. auto regulators have asked
Tesla Motors Inc for records of consumer complaints,
property damage claims and other details as part of a federal
probe into two Tesla electric cars that caught fire on U.S.
roads since October.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also
requested information about any design modifications to the
Model S electric sedan as well as engineering drawings. Tesla
has until Jan. 14 to provide the additional details.
The request for more information is routine in such safety
defect probes, but signals how NHTSA is approaching the Model S
investigation that was launched last month.
NHTSA's probe came 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.
Regulators asked Tesla to detail the possible consequences
of battery pack damage to the Model S and how those problems
were addressed in the Model S design. NHTSA also asked Tesla to
describe the "limits of that design to prevent damage to the
propulsion battery, stalling and fires".
Tesla shares have fallen 25 percent since Oct. 1, due in
part to media coverage of the Model S fires, analysts said.
But on Tuesday, the stock shot up 16.5 percent to $144.70
after Morgan Stanley analysts made Tesla their top autos pick.
"While (Tesla) still has a lot to prove to fundamentally
justify its valuation, we believe the stock offers a better
risk-adjusted return vs. any other stock in our U.S. auto
coverage," Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jones wrote.
Tesla declined to comment.