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NHTSA Investigating “Non-Crash Fires” in Tesla Model S and X Units

A possible defect in some Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles resulted in an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) into “non-crash fires” in Tesla vehicles.

The NHTSA has received several complaints about “non-crash fires” over the years after some Teslas that caught fire while parked with no explanation. Now the NHTSA is moving forward with its investigation surrounding the issue.

There is no official recall at this time and until the NHTSA concluded their investigation, we won’t know if something is actually wrong. However, the fact that the NHTSA’s has in fact launched the investigation, does indicate that there is a potential safety risk involved.

After Consumer attorney Edward Chen submitted a defect petition for Tesla owners whose cars received a software update that reduced range, the NHTSA began to move forward with its investigation. According to said owners, they believe the software update may have taken care of the potential battery fire issue in exchange for their vehicles range, suspecting the update was actually a way for Tesla to avoid a recall. 

Chen’s letter to the NHTSA and Department of Transportation stated (via CNBC): “Tesla is using over-the-air software updates to mask and cover-up a potentially widespread and dangerous issue with the batteries in their vehicles.”

The NHTSA is continuing its investigation into the potential fire risk as well as if Tesla compromised vehicle range using over-the-air software updates to avoid said risk. The NHTSA will determine whether or not a recall will be required once the investigation is concluded.

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