The first Tesla Model S to catch fire was reported this week in Kent, Washington, and as news swept the internet the electric automaker’s stock dropped to $169.50 from a 52-week high of $194.50. But before jumping to conclusions about the safety of electric vehicles, consider that this an isolated incident, and that car fires affect on average 152,000 vehicles of all types every year in the States.
Reportedly, the driver of the Model S hit a very large metal object in the road, which practically destroyed the car’s front end and ruptured its battery. The car caught fire shortly after the accident, and the whole incident was caught on video, leading to a media frenzy.
But take a step back and think – as Wired suggests, a conventional car would respond much the same way if its fuel tank were ruptured in an accident. Car fires are actually quite common, with around 152,000 reported each year.
Tesla did release a statement about the incident, which basically confirmed the official reports from the fire department at the scene: “a Model S collided with a large metallic object in the middle of the road, causing significant damage to the vehicle.” The charred Tesla Model S is now being examined by Tesla, which maintains that the fire was caused because a metal object damaged the vehicle’s battery.