TSLA Tesla has finally confirmed to the third fire on one of its cars, which occurred in Tennessee on Wednesday. This was the third fire incident in a span of five weeks. The carmakers have confirmed that the fire was caused by the car hitting a metal object.  

There were no reported casualties with the driver actually admitting that the car actually saved his life. In the previous incidents, no occupants were hurt either. This incident had raised some questions about Tesla EVs (Electric Vehicles), and whether they are safe enough. 

The first incident took place in early October in Washington State. The investigations showed that the accident was caused by the car running over a metal object, just like the recent episode. 

According to Tesla, their investigation in Washington in early October also showed that the fire was prevented from entering the passenger compartment due to internal walls. The Tesla Model S cars have a battery pack enclosed within the floors of the car. 

Based on photos provided by the Highway Police, the Tennessee damage seemed more on the front part of the car. The driver was lucky to have escaped the crash unscathed. Despite this, these three incidents have raised lots of questions, especially to the investors who sent TSLA Tesla shares plummeting. 

The crashes have also prompted the comparison of Tesla Model S EVs with those manufactured by other companies like Nissan’s Leaf and General Motors’ Volt. Surprisingly, none of these two EV manufacturers has reported any fire connected to a crash. 

So why only Tesla Model S cars seem to be the only victims? Well, only Tesla can answer that question. Actually, most people think that the company should change its cars, or modify them to be safer than what is already being witnessed.

All the three car models (Volt, Model S and Leaf) use lithium ion batteries, which are wrapped up with protective steel shells. These shells are meant to prevent fire events in case of a crash. The only problem with Model S is the high level of energy stored by their batteries. 

The Model S batteries carry three times the amount of energy stored in GM’s Volt, and it is five times more than the amount carried by Nissan’s Leaf. This amount increases chances of the Model S cars catching fire. 

The other difference with both Leaf and Volt is the battery’s design. The TSLA Tesla cars place their batteries at the underside of the vehicle, for easy accessibility. The other car models place their battery packs at the rear, where the tank would normally go. 

Having the battery-pack at the back of the car reduces the possibility of the highly charged battery experiencing an accident. Here, fire incidents are minimal since 70 percent of crashes occur at the anterior parts of a car – thus leaving a small window for any kind of debris hit. To make it worse, the Tesla batteries are coated with chemicals retardant to fire. 

On 7th November, the day after the Tennessee accident, the company reported a 7 percent fall in stock. It is clear that TSLA Tesla needs to change its cars and come up with necessary changes. It is never the crashes, but the fires that are lethal!

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