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13 April 2014

Tesla’s Model S Gets Titanium Upgrade

tesla_modelElon Musk’s Tesla Motors has adding a triple underbody shield to the company’s cars after well-publicized fire incidents last year, in turn closing out a federal probe. The car undersides now have a triple bullet-proof titanium shield.

Musk, chief executive of Tesla Motors, announced in a blog post that his electric car company has added a titanium underbody shield and aluminum deflector plates to Model S cars manufactured as of March 6. Existing car owners can have their cars retrofitted for free on request or as part of normal service, he said.

“It is important to note that there have been no fire injuries (or serious, permanent injuries of any kind) in a Tesla at all,” Musk writes, arguing again for the safety record of the Model S. “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.”

Musk makes no mention of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s investigation of the two collisions in the U.S. last year that resulted in fires. But the changes were enough for the government agency to move on from one of his many companies.

Tesla has been one of the hottest companies in the world, and its shares have soared, valuing the company at $26 billion, half that of General Motors, which made 2.8 million vehicles last year compared with Tesla’s less than 20,000.

A statement released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Friday explaining why it closed the Tesla fire investigation, saying it “believes the company’s revision to the vehicle’s ride height and increased underbody protection should reduce both the frequency of underbody strikes and the risk of resulting fires. Consumers should have their vehicles serviced promptly once they receive notification from Tesla Motors.”

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