The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced on Tuesday that the agency is opening an investigation into two recent Tesla Model S Sedan battery fires that occurred in Washington and Tennessee when the cars hit debris on the road. In a blog post published on Tuesday, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk said he requested the federal government probe and defended the safety record of electric vehicles as superior to internal combustion engine vehicles.

“Given that the incidence of fires in the Model S is far lower than combustion cars and that there have been no resulting injuries, this did not at first seem like a good use of NHTSA’s time compared to the hundreds of gasoline fire deaths per year that warrant their attention,” Musk wrote. “However, there is a larger issue at stake: if a false perception about the safety of electric cars is allowed to linger, it will delay the advent of sustainable transport and increase the risk of global climate change, with potentially disastrous consequences worldwide. That cannot be allowed to happen.”

The inquiry into the battery fires comes only a few months after NHTSA awarded the Model S the highest safety rating on any car ever tested. The Model S earned a 5-star safety rating in every category independently tested.

Musk is taking preemptive measures to alleviate any concerns from consumers and investors. In the blog post, Musk said the company is rolling out an update to the Model S air suspension “that will allow for greater ground clearance at highway speeds” and “will amend warranty policies to cover damage due to fires, even if due to driver error.”

Shareholders were obviously pleased with Tesla’s proactive approach as the stock rose 6 percent.

+ Tesla Motors

+ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Via New York Times

Images via Wolfram Burner