NHTSA closes probe on Model S fires


The NHTSA has closed an investigation into Tesla Motors (TSLA +2.8%) relating to Model S fires, according to a posting on the agency's website.

The key phrase from the regulator: "A defect trend has not been identified."

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Comments (41)
  • Ed Lewis
    , contributor
    Comments (69) | Send Message
     
    Now maybe all the naysayers will have to look for something else to claim that the sky is falling on Tesla.
    28 Mar 2014, 09:53 AM Reply Like
  • wwt17
    , contributor
    Comments (498) | Send Message
     
    Lightening stuck a tree that a TSLA was parked under. Must have been TSLA's fault.
    28 Mar 2014, 10:28 AM Reply Like
  • surferbroadband
    , contributor
    Comments (4827) | Send Message
     
    That is the logic the shorts are using.

     

    My hat off to wwt17 for an excellent comment.
    28 Mar 2014, 11:53 AM Reply Like
  • surferbroadband
    , contributor
    Comments (4827) | Send Message
     
    The naysayers will look for anything because what they really want is for Tesla Motors to fail as a company. The idea of a petroleum free vehicle drives them nuts.

     

    Eventually the oil companies will show their true colors and play dirty with Tesla Motors. The "fires" was the first round. Just wait for the real stuff coming down the pipe.
    28 Mar 2014, 11:56 AM Reply Like
  • chan546
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    It must have been the lithium ion battery packs that attracted the lightening.
    28 Mar 2014, 01:51 PM Reply Like
  • Ford Prefect 1969
    , contributor
    Comments (2267) | Send Message
     
    "Eventually the oil companies will show their true colors and play dirty with Tesla Motors"

     

    Actually they are playing dirty. That is what the hydrogen FCV hoax is all about.

     

    Hydrogen is the fossil fuel cuckoo in the renewables nest.
    28 Mar 2014, 02:39 PM Reply Like
  • wwt17
    , contributor
    Comments (498) | Send Message
     
    Cheers, surfer...
    29 Mar 2014, 08:47 AM Reply Like
  • wwt17
    , contributor
    Comments (498) | Send Message
     
    It's late at night, so maybe I'm not getting your comment about hydrogen as "fossil fuel cuckoo in the renewables nest." You can't be saying hydrogen is a fossil fuel, so you must be saying that it takes a lot of fossil fuel to produce hydrogen. Right?
    29 Mar 2014, 08:51 AM Reply Like
  • JRP3
    , contributor
    Comments (10289) | Send Message
     
    Most hydrogen is produced by splitting it from fossil fuels.
    29 Mar 2014, 09:53 AM Reply Like
  • Ford Prefect 1969
    , contributor
    Comments (2267) | Send Message
     
    @wwt17

     

    I think it is pretty important to be clear about this hydrogen thing.

     

    Fossil Fuel Cell Vehicles. FFCVs

     

    The hydrogen is precisely as fossil as the natural gas it comes from.
    30 Mar 2014, 02:23 AM Reply Like
  • Technology Equity Strategies
    , contributor
    Comments (3035) | Send Message
     
    Congratulations to Tesla on its new Don't Call It A Recall.

     

    I don't know why it took this company so long to come up with this simple obvious fix, that everyone in their right mind knew was coming.
    28 Mar 2014, 09:54 AM Reply Like
  • Technology Equity Strategies
    , contributor
    Comments (3035) | Send Message
     
    The fire risk issue does seem to becoming a smaller problem for the company as sales of the car become less pronounced.
    28 Mar 2014, 10:24 AM Reply Like
  • surferbroadband
    , contributor
    Comments (4827) | Send Message
     
    Stop spinning Tippydog. "A defect trend has not been identified." There is no problem with the design.

     

    I like a vehicle will a large amount of clearance. I drive thru roads that have a lot of debris. That is why I drive a pickup. When Tesla comes up with the electric pickup, then I will buy one. In the meantime, high end customers will drive the Model S and then the Model X and the company will make good money off of them.
    28 Mar 2014, 11:51 AM Reply Like
  • aaronw2
    , contributor
    Comments (278) | Send Message
     
    That's why I can control the height of my model S. When I need to I can just raise the vehicle up, though obviously not as high as a pickup truck.
    28 Mar 2014, 01:50 PM Reply Like
  • Ford Prefect 1969
    , contributor
    Comments (2267) | Send Message
     
    Total Recall

     

    http://bit.ly/1h4wDkJ

     

    (of the GM ELR)
    28 Mar 2014, 10:00 PM Reply Like
  • billjac
    , contributor
    Comments (52) | Send Message
     
    Can't use the word recall now without a negative modifier. No culpability here, unlike GM.
    28 Mar 2014, 10:16 AM Reply Like
  • 123man
    , contributor
    Comments (1600) | Send Message
     
    If Tesla had simply come up with this before the "all clear" then they would have assumed a tremendous amount of liability - by waiting for the all clear and then providing an optional fix the liability shifts in some degree to the consumer, me -
    and I am fine with that, Tesla provided me with a great car and they have my back on safety issues -
    28 Mar 2014, 10:19 AM Reply Like
  • 123man
    , contributor
    Comments (1600) | Send Message
     
    On the Tesla website is a video of the shields in action - I, for one, have never seen a car manufacturer go to such lengths both to inform and protect its customers - see Tesla Motors website

     

    March 28, 2014
    Tesla Adds Titanium Underbody Shield and Aluminum Deflector Plates to Model S
    By Elon Musk, Chairman, Product Architect & CEO
    TAGS: Customers / Model S / Stores /
    28 Mar 2014, 10:26 AM Reply Like
  • Nigel D'Souza
    , contributor
    Comments (396) | Send Message
     
    Good news. I think the move was a no brainer. The only negative related to this issue now is the costs incurred in this quarter and going forward for adding the titanium plates. Gross profit margins will be smaller but who knows by how much.
    28 Mar 2014, 10:41 AM Reply Like
  • arondaniel
    , contributor
    Comments (1664) | Send Message
     
    Why must it be so expensive? It's a 3-stage deflector shield at the front of the car, designed to divert and/or crush incoming road debris. It is two aluminum tubes and a Ti plate, I don't even think it extends past the battery tray which has its own aluminum plating.

     

    Model S is a freaking tank. Watch it destroy a cement block and an alternator, and neutralize and deflect a tow hitch: http://bit.ly/1dBtD4L
    28 Mar 2014, 05:54 PM Reply Like
  • MaxRen
    , contributor
    Comments (46) | Send Message
     
    TSLA demonstrated they can overcome problems and improve design and safety. All this happened in a very short time. A Model S today is already much better than 2012 S. I expect every future models, like X or E to benefit from strong improvements, as they learn along the way.
    28 Mar 2014, 10:48 AM Reply Like
  • Dan Fichana
    , contributor
    Comments (1918) | Send Message
     
    So they were cleared of fault from the NHTSA and decided to go ahead with a fix anyway.

     

    That is what you call a good company who appreciates its customers. Specifically when you have the others whom postpone safety issue fixes that cause deaths for a decade.
    28 Mar 2014, 11:24 AM Reply Like
  • Cassina Tarsia
    , contributor
    Comments (662) | Send Message
     
    Dan Fichana ... GM immediately comes to mind, with what is happening to them as we speak. Good point. Elon, on the other hand, has said that his entire objective with the safety of his cars was to make them as safe as he knew how so that he could trust that nothing would ever happen with his own family when they would drive or ride in them. And he does what he says - no one said that he had to have this fix, but he did it anyway to make his car that much safer than it was before. Good work, Elon!
    28 Mar 2014, 12:02 PM Reply Like
  • Doc's Trading
    , contributor
    Comments (1847) | Send Message
     
    Does anyone out there have a logical opinion or conclusion as to what options TSLA would have if Panasonic doesn't come on board as a partner in the factory.
    I understand that TSLA is perhaps withholding pending information as to any possible deal at the moment (as is any potential partner) based on not having exhausted its options on State selection yet pending full receipt of all possible favors they will grant TSLA if their's is the State selected. Also understanding the fact that it takes time for such legislation to be proposed and passed by those States in the running..Such leverage as TSLA may be able to exert would require silence on there part to shareholders, for best effect.::: IE: tax credits, direct sales, etc.
    So what happens if no partner surfaces?
    28 Mar 2014, 11:34 AM Reply Like
  • Nigel D'Souza
    , contributor
    Comments (396) | Send Message
     
    If no partner surfaces then Tesla will have to foot the entire $5 billion for the factory. Tesla would also have to build a battery plant without having any knowledge or expertise in the area (according to their own release).

     

    I can't fathom the stock not tanking in such a scenario.

     

    As for viable alternatives to Panasonic as a partner. I can't think of one who fits the criteria of expertise in battery manufacturing.
    28 Mar 2014, 11:40 AM Reply Like
  • surferbroadband
    , contributor
    Comments (4827) | Send Message
     
    I believe the "Partners" were waiting on the announcement from the NHTSA.

     

    By validating the safety of the vehicle then Panasonic does not have to worry about "liability".

     

    A safely designed battery pack integrated with the vehicle design, reduces the possibility that Panasonic would get sued for making a bad battery that was unsafe.

     

    In the next few days, I would bet that Panasonic will get on board with Tesla and foot part of the $5 billion because, there is a tremendous opportunity for them. Intel starting building factories because IBM said there was a market for personal computers. The chips that Intel makes now basically power all the computers out there ( 90% market share ).

     

    Does Panasonic want to get in on the ground floor of a huge revenue stream in Lithium Ion batteries or be on the sidelines?

     

    Fortune favors the bold.
    Virgil's Aeneid, 10.284
    28 Mar 2014, 12:47 PM Reply Like
  • Ford Prefect 1969
    , contributor
    Comments (2267) | Send Message
     
    @docs trading

     

    I think the invitation for partners has been somewhat confused with a need for partners.

     

    Tesla has whole departments dedicated to electrochemistry, accelerated cell testing and a bunch of patents on cell design.

     

    O'Connell has stated that Panasonic is essentially doing fabrication on Tesla's cell design. That was part of an explanation why it made sense for Tesla to have its own fabrication assets.

     

    The big deal about Panasonic is to gain ready made access to Panasonic's supply chain. In that way Panasonic has something to gain from bulk pricing of the combination of Tesla's requirements and Panasonic's own.

     

    Just taking a really basic view, I think the mystery surrounding batteries is overblown. The big deal is the economics, not the technology or manufacturing know how.
    28 Mar 2014, 02:51 PM Reply Like
  • John Bingham
    , contributor
    Comments (1252) | Send Message
     
    docs and Nigel,

     

    It is very likely that Panasonic will come on board and partner with Tesla, but I really don't see any problem if Tesla has to go it alone.

     

    They have $2 billion already and that should be more than enough to "break ground" for the Gigafactory.

     

    As for having no knowledge or expertise in building a battery factory, you could have said the same about Tesla's knowledge of electric cars just a few short years ago, and we know how that turned out!

     

    Tesla has a team of engineers with experience in both the mechanical and chemical intricacies of cell and battery systems and, if needed, they could easily "head hunt" for more researchers. If I wasn't already well into retirement I, for one, would love to have Tesla on my CV!

     

    The battery factory will not be online for a few years, and even then it will not need to be at full capacity until the end of the decade. With the additional income from the Model S and X ramp up over the next three years the necessary cash could be raised without partners. It doesn't have to all be done up front.

     

    Whether or not Panasonic becomes a JV partner I would not be surprised to see Tesla partner with, or even eventually buy out, upstream materials suppliers for the added security of higher levels of vertical integration.
    29 Mar 2014, 05:44 AM Reply Like
  • Technology Equity Strategies
    , contributor
    Comments (3035) | Send Message
     
    Ford,

     

    Suppliers in Panasonic's supply chain make materials to the design of Panasonic, and Panasonic may well own those designs.

     

    No deal with Panasonic, go back to square one, change your whole battery chemistry. Deep doo doo. Delay Gen 3 to 2020. Miss the window.

     

    Not an option. Panasonic holds the cards. Up against the wall.
    29 Mar 2014, 11:44 AM Reply Like
  • JRP3
    , contributor
    Comments (10289) | Send Message
     
    Tippster,
    Using your line of reasoning, suppliers in Tesla's supply chain make cells to the design of Tesla, and Tesla may well own those designs. No deal with Tesla and Panasonic loses out on a huge amount of future business.
    30 Mar 2014, 09:55 AM Reply Like
  • 123man
    , contributor
    Comments (1600) | Send Message
     
    Tippy - unless Tesla has already made the decision to move away from the 18650 cell to some other better technology - only a few commenting on this forum actually understand battery chemistry - I am not one of them - since Tesla's use of the 18650 is proprietary, there is no reason to assume that their quest has stopped there - wishful thinking maybe, but no sound reason -
    31 Mar 2014, 09:18 AM Reply Like
  • JRP3
    , contributor
    Comments (10289) | Send Message
     
    18650 is just the size of the container, it has no relation to the chemistry inside.
    1 Apr 2014, 09:28 AM Reply Like
  • surferbroadband
    , contributor
    Comments (4827) | Send Message
     
    The design of the Model S has been certified as safe.

     

    The naysayers have nothing to point at.

     

    Stock price will go up from here on out.

     

    The only question is how high will the stock price go.
    28 Mar 2014, 11:46 AM Reply Like
  • Doc's Trading
    , contributor
    Comments (1847) | Send Message
     
    Technical update...TSLA.... resistance levels are at 127, 130-131, 136-137 and 140 - 144. Shorts place your first stop at 128.10. If volume is light on that rally, under 12 million, expect another partial decline anywhere from 3.82 to 50 percent of the first rally. The next decline (30-50%) must be accompanied by lighter volume (under 5 million) to be a buy and to be reasonably assured that another attempt at a higher high is made. If so expect a ratchet style rally (ascending staircase) style.
    She must NOT break 203 on a closing basis. Longs place your stop between 199.80 and 203 to protect yourselves.
    more later
    28 Mar 2014, 01:27 PM Reply Like
  • William Ford
    , contributor
    Comments (90) | Send Message
     
    The NHTSA and GM!
    28 Mar 2014, 11:48 AM Reply Like
  • chipdoctor
    , contributor
    Comments (2552) | Send Message
     
    " A defect trend has not been identified" really means we got bigger problems with the other recalls going. The few vehicles that are affected are peanuts compared to the tens of thousands that may have more serious near term issues.
    28 Mar 2014, 03:25 PM Reply Like
  • JRP3
    , contributor
    Comments (10289) | Send Message
     
    I think what you're trying to say, without actually saying it, is that Tesla is a much safer vehicle than probably anything else on the road.
    28 Mar 2014, 05:50 PM Reply Like
  • doubleE
    , contributor
    Comments (4574) | Send Message
     
    @chipdoctor

     

    That is standard NHTSA language. For legal reasons, NHTSA will NEVER say a car is free of safety defects. They can only say that they have not identified a safety defect. There is always a disclaimer that they could change that stance in the future. This is as good as it gets from NHTSA.
    29 Mar 2014, 10:00 AM Reply Like
  • Miro Kefurt
    , contributor
    Comments (835) | Send Message
     
    Bottom line is that TESLA will recall all vehicles it has ever made and install FREE extra protection components (3 of them).

     

    No mater what they call it service campaign, etc. etc. it is de facto a recall and they admitted "fault" to NHTSA with the vehicle, and thus it needs to be fixed FREE and on ALL CARS, over the air update will fix this one !!!

     

    And in the end not all is 100% cleared yet either:
    "The closing of the investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist, and the agency reserves the right to take further action if warranted by new circumstances."
    28 Mar 2014, 06:51 PM Reply Like
  • JRP3
    , contributor
    Comments (10289) | Send Message
     
    Even NHTSA isn't calling it a recall. It's an optional free upgrade to existing vehicles and an added feature for new ones. Sure it will cost Tesla a couple of bucks, but it's just a drop in the bucket, and will pay off far more in the additional positive press it will bring. As usual, Musk makes a brilliant move.
    28 Mar 2014, 08:50 PM Reply Like
  • 123man
    , contributor
    Comments (1600) | Send Message
     
    Miro - don't confuse "optional" and "upgrade" with recall, and it is a free upgrade - when was the last time any manufacturer offered you a free upgrade on your existing car which you were free to accept or not? -
    31 Mar 2014, 09:24 AM Reply Like
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