Battery Fires Begone: Tesla Looks to Titanium Armor for Help

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Tesla Model S White

Last year, electric vehicle upstart Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) found itself in a very unwanted spotlight after two of its vehicles suffered fires in isolated incidents as a result of running over debris strewn across the road. The incidents caused the stock to sink, since electric cars have not yet endured the test of time, and no one — investors especially — was particularly sure if it was merely bad luck or an engineering fault that would potentially affect all of Tesla’s Model S sedans on the road to date.

As it has developed a reputation for doing, Tesla handled the incidents in stride. It sent out an over-the-air update to raise the suspension ever so slightly to mitigate the risk of a battery cell puncture, while CEO Elon Musk publicly battled the media at large for its disproportionate coverage of the fires — maintaining correctly, we might add, that the risk of a fire in a Tesla was still far below the risk of fire in an internal combustion-driven vehicle.

However, in efforts to do one better, Musk and company have penned a statement that was published through Medium.com, where he says in addition to the software updates, Tesla will be adding a titanium plating to further protect the battery pack from punctures and damage.

“It is important to note that there have been no fire injuries … in a Tesla at all,” he said. “The odds of fire in a Model S, at roughly 1 in 8,000 vehicles, are five times lower than those of an average gasoline car and, when a fire does occur, the actual combustion potential is comparatively small.

“However, to improve things further, we provided an over-the-air software update a few months ago to increase the default ground clearance of the Model S at highway speeds, substantially reducing the odds of a severe underbody impact.”

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