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Tesla to Avoid U.S. Probe of Model S Post-Crash Fire

Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA), the best-performing U.S. auto stock this year, got a double dose of good news as U.S. officials chose not to probe a Model S battery fire and California deferred changes to a state program that would pare Tesla’s revenue from green-car credits.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in a statement, said yesterday it found no evidence that the fire on a Washington state highway resulted from a Model S defect or violations of U.S. safety standards. The luxury car struck metal debris that pierced its lithium-ion battery pack, according to state officials and Tesla.
Tesla CEO Says Model S Fire Caused by Metal Debris
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Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) — Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc., talks about the causes of a Model S battery fire, the company’s stock price and battery-powered car sales in Europe. He spoke yesterday with Guy Johnson in London. (Source: Bloomberg)

“We have a six-millimeter thick armor plate on the bottom of the car,” Musk said yesterday in a Bloomberg Television interview. The debris “punched through that armor plate into the battery pack and crushed several of the battery cells. It took several minutes, but a few of those cells caught fire.”

Reports of the Oct. 1 fire, the first such incident involving a Tesla vehicle, triggered a 10 percent drop in the company’s shares over two days, reflecting concern the issue might tarnish the automaker. Tesla, already the biggest seller of premium battery-powered cars, has soared fivefold this year after posting its first quarterly profit, repaying a U.S. loan nine years early and expanding Model S sales to Europe and Asia.
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