Fire investigators don't think the latest fire involving a Tesla Model S can be counted as "Battery Fire No. 4." Their initial findings say the incident, which happened in a Southern California garage last month, was not caused by the car.
The fire, which happened in Irvine, CA, on November 15, may instead have been caused by an overheated wall charging system. "The cable was fine on the vehicle side; the damage was on the wall side. Our inspection of the car and the battery made clear that neither were the source" of the fire, Tesla said in a statement that cited the report by the Orange County Fire Authority. The OCFA is finished with its investigation and will leave it to Tesla and insurance companies to determine the actual cause of the fire. Fire damage to the wall socket makes it tough to determine with it was caused by faulty wiring, OCFA spokesman Steve Concialdi told Bloomberg.
"Our inspection of the car and the battery made clear that neither were the source" - Tesla
Big data is once again helping Tesla defend its stance. The automaker says it reviewed the data log that records the car's charging cycles and found them to be normal, with no fluctuations or malfunctions within the battery or charge electronics.
Given the findings, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may be able to stay focused on investigating the other three Model S fires that happened during the fall. In two of those fires, the Model S hit metal debris on the road, which then flew up and punctured the battery. No serious injuries were reported. Tesla has updated the Model S' suspension software for safer ground clearance at highway speeds to avoid a third incident like it.
Despite being just three of hundreds of thousands of car fires every year, Tesla Motors' stocks have dropped 25 percent in value since the fires started. They reached a peak at $193.37 this year but then fell to around $121. The closed at $140.72 yesterday so, while it's not roaring like it was earlier in 2013, the cost of a TSLA doesn't seem to be flattening out.