In an e-mailed statement, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that it has decided against launching a formal investigation into the Washington state fire early this month involving a Tesla Model S. The electric car ran over some metal debris that punctured the front battery pack, sparking the fire. NHTSA said that it found no evidence of violations of federal motor vehicle safety standard or that the fire resulted from a vehicle defect. While the agency did not conduct an on-scene investigation of the Oct. 1 fire due to the partial shutdown of the federal government during the congressional budget impasse, after consulting with Tesla, regulators decided that no investigation was needed. Just a few days ago, on Oct. 22, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said the agency was “gathering data” on the fire, which resulted in a complete writeoff of the Model S.
A Tesla spokesperson said that the carmaker had no immediate response to NHTSA’s decision. In an October 5th blog post, CEO Elon Musk insisted that the Model S was safe, saying that the fire resulted from an unusual crash that would have resulted in a fire in a gasoline car as well.