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Despite Several Electric-Car Fires, Tesla Is a Safer Option

On Monday, news of another Model S fire made vicious rounds on the interwebs. The negative headlines apparently concerned investors, as Tesla Motors’ (NASDAQ: TSLA ) market capitalization fell by hundreds of millions of dollars. As the second fire in less than two months, should investors worry?

Highly flammable liquid versus battery
Based on comments from Tesla CEO Elon Musk in a company blog post about the first fire in early October, earlier this week I explained that Tesla’s Model S has only seen two fires in 100 million miles driven, while traditional vehicles have one fire for every 20 million miles driven. The numbers make a strong case that the vehicle is at least as fireproof as traditional vehicles.

But several readers suggested in the comments that the comparison doesn’t suggest the Model S is safer, since the Model S is a new car and the national statistic for traditional vehicles includes much older models. A new car, they explained, should have far less vehicle fire incidents, they argued. It’s a solid point.


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