The soft underbelly of the Tesla Model S could definitely be the weak spot of Elon Musk’s goal of global expansion and domination of the electric-vehicle industry.
After reports of three under-hood fires in three Model S vehicles in just six weeks, it seems that something could be wrong with the engineering of the bottom of the $70,000 Model S. Or at least it could represent a trend.
It appears the Model S that caught fire near Murfreesboro, Tenn., a couple of days ago suffered from the same kind of misfortune that felled the car in the first Model S fire outside Seattle in September: highway debris was propelled into an obviously vulnerable battery system from underneath the car.
In the case of the Tennessee driver, there was a tow hitch lying in the middle of a lane on Interstate 24 that damaged the car’s undercarriage. The first fire occurred after a curved metal object fell off a semi-trailer and struck up into the underside of the car in a “pole-vault effect,” Tesla said, calling that incident a “highly uncommon occurrence.”
At some point, it stands to reason, a driver of a Model S that catches on fire won’t be able to get out safely as the three unsuspecting owners in the Tesla-fire incidents so far have been able to do.
Investors already knocked more than 7 % off Tesla’s stock price after the report of the third fire. And it could get much worse if Musk doesn’t wrap his considerable brain around this problem in a hurry.