CEO Elon Musk said that Tesla Motors would not recall its Model S electric car despite three vehicle fires that raised safety questions and hurt the automaker’s stock price.
Three Model S fires have been reported since early October, most recently in Tennessee last week. Two fires occurred after the Model S driver ran over a piece of debris that damaged the car’s battery pack.
“There’s definitely not going to be a recall,” Musk said during a televised conference on CNBC. “There’s no reason for a recall, I believe.”
After Musk’s comments, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reiterated that it was gathering information about the third fire. NHTSA is also communicating with Tesla and Tennessee authorities to determine if additional action is needed, such as a deeper probe that may lead to a recall.
Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur who made his mark as a PayPal founding member, characterized media coverage of the fires as “extremely misleading.” The fire risk of a Model S was “five times less” than the average gasoline car, Musk said.
Tesla shares have fallen almost 30 % since October 1, following an almost six-fold increase in the stock during the first nine months of the year.