As of the last official count, there are 19,000 Tesla Model S sedans on US roads. Three of those, as has been widely reported, have caught on fire after significant accidents. That means one in about 6,333 Model S sedans has caught fire, and none of those fires led to any injuries. By way of contrast, there were 172,500 gasoline-car fires in the States last year, which, according to the National Fire Protection Association, equals about one in every 1,450 vehicles on US roads.
Put more simply, as stated by Elon Musk in his latest posting on the official Tesla Motors blog, "You are more than four and a half times more likely to experience a fire in a gasoline car than a Model S! Considering the odds in the absolute, you are more likely to be struck by lightning in your lifetime than experience even a non-injurious fire in a Tesla." While the assertion of dangerous lightning strikes may be just as spurious a correlation as those who claim the Model S is a burning inferno waiting to happen, the point is clear: You are quite unlikely to experience a fire in a Tesla Model S.
In a move we'd describe as very baller, Tesla has amended the warranty to cover damage due to a fire, even if due to driver error.
Still, Tesla has announced a new three-pronged approach to assuage Model S fire fears, the first of which is an over-the-air software update that will increase the car's ground clearance at highway speeds. This will hopefully make it less likely to impact debris on the road surface, which was the cause of two of three Model S fires.
Second, Tesla has "requested that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conduct a full investigation as soon as possible into the fire incidents," according to Musk, who had previously said a there would "definitely" not be a recall. While a recall still seems highly unlikely, Musk says that "if something is discovered that would result in a material improvement in occupant fire safety, we will immediately apply that change to new cars and offer it as a free retrofit to all existing cars."
Finally, in a move we'd describe as very baller indeed, Tesla has amended the warranty of its Model S sedan to cover damage due to a fire, even if due to driver error. "Unless a Model S owner actively tries to destroy the car, they are covered," says Musk.
Feel free to read Musk's complete blog posting for all the details and commentary at the official Tesla Motors site.