Tesla hoses down fire fear

Elon Musk says fire headlines about the Tesla Model S are misleading. Picture / AP
Elon Musk says fire headlines about the Tesla Model S are misleading. Picture / AP

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk says the company "definitely" won't recall its Model S electric car despite three vehicle fires in the past six weeks.

"The headlines are extremely misleading. If fire risk is your concern, you would have a great deal of difficulty being in any better car than the Model S," said Musk.

There is one fire for every 1300 petrol-powered cars on US roads, and for the Model S it's closer to one in 8000, according to Musk. He underscored that none of the drivers in the three cases was injured.

"There's definitely not going to be a recall. There's no reason for a recall, I believe," he said.

Rumours of a possible recall sent Tesla shares down 5 per cent on Wednesday to close at US$137.80. They rose 2 per cent in after-hours trading after Musk spoke.

The stock is down by nearly a third since the first fire was reported on October 2. In that case, the car hit a large metal object on a state highway near Seattle.

In the second case, in Mexico, a Model S burned after a high-speed crash. Last week, a Model S caught fire near Smyrna, Tennessee, after its driver struck a trailer hitch.

Musk, who described himself as "somewhat of a perfectionist", said Tesla would recall the Model S immediately if it thought the car had a safety problem.

Ultimately, that decision might not be left to Tesla. The US Government could decide to recommend a recall of the Model S, and could take the company to court if it refuses.

Tesla factory staff injured

Tesla Motors says three employees have been injured after an aluminum-casting press
failed at its factory near San Francisco.

It said there was a failure in a low-pressure aluminium-casting press, and the three workers were hurt by hot metal.

Fire trucks were seen outside the factory but a fire employee said there was no fire at the plant.

Tesla has made headlines over fires involving its Model S electric car.

-AP

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