Tesla Motors having troubles inside its California plant as well as on the road
An industrial accident at the Tesla Motors plant in Fremont, California left three workers injured with moderate to serious burns. The workers were burned by hot metal when a casting press failed. The California plant is the production site for the Model S sedans manufactured by electric carmaker Tesla.
Although there was no fire or at explosion at the plant in the industrial accident, fires on the road are something that have been plaguing the automaker for months. Three Tesla Model S vehicles have caught fire in recent months, leading Tesla to launch an internal probe into the cause of the fires while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a formal investigation into the matter.
While one car caught fire after slamming into a concrete wall in Mexico, the two fires on U.S. roads appear to have been caused when metallic debris on the roadway struck the undercarriage and damaged the battery pack lying on the cars’ underbelly. According to a preliminary evaluation of the matter, the NHTSA has said that an impact damaging the enclosure surrounding the battery can lead to a phenomenon known as thermal runaway, where the battery rapidly overheats and causes a fire.
For its part, Tesla has updated the software controlling the air suspension system of the Model S to keep the underbelly of the car higher off the roadway when traveling at highway speeds. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also stated that the company will cover any such damage through its warranty protection, although Tesla does not believe there is a serious safety issue with the Model S and has publicly stated that it is not planning any sort of product recall.