Bloomberg News

Tesla Probing Cause of Toronto Garage Fire With Model S (1)

February 14, 2014

Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA:US), awaiting results of a U.S. probe into crash-related battery fires and which updated software to prevent overheating when recharging, said it’s investigating a fire involving a Model S in Canada.

The fire happened in a Toronto garage this month shortly after the car’s owner returned from a drive, and the vehicle wasn’t plugged in to recharge when it occurred, the Business Insider website said yesterday. “After a few moments, the owner’s fire detector went off and the fire department was called,” Business Insider said, without providing details.

Tesla is reviewing the fire and hasn’t determined how it began, said Liz Jarvis-Shean, a spokeswoman for the Palo Alto, California-based carmaker.

“The Model S continues to have the best safety track record of any vehicle in the world,” Tesla said in a statement. “In this particular case, we don’t yet know the precise cause, but have definitively determined that it did not originate in the battery, the charging system, the adapter or the electrical receptacle, as these components were untouched by the fire.”

The company last year updated charging software after a fire broke out in November while a Model S was recharging in a garage in Irvine, California. The company concluded the fire was caused by house wiring. Orange County fire officials said it could have been the house or the car’s charging cable.

Previous Fires

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating the Model S on Nov. 19 for two U.S. fires that started after drivers ran over road debris that punctured the cars’ lithium-ion battery packs.

Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive officer, said in an interview last month he didn’t know when federal investigators would conclude their review.

Tesla sent seven employees to review the Toronto fire, Business Insider said. “The company also offered to take care of the damages and inconvenience caused by the fire, but the owner declined,” the report said.

Tesla fell 0.7 percent to $198.23 at the close in New York. The stock has gained 32 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Ohnsman in Los Angeles at aohnsman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net


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