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The Tesla Model S saved my life!

Tesla Electric Cars not only look great and are well designed but after a Tesla Model S caught fire last week thanks to running over a trailer hitch on the road, the Tesla’s owner said that he believed the design on the Model S saved his life. The driver in Tennessee was able to pull onto an emergency lane and escape after running over the solid metal hitch that had fallen on to the roadway.

Tesla Car Fire

The Rutherford County fire chief, Larry Farley said the blaze was so hot and intense that it melted the front of the car. “It pretty much just melted to the road,” Farley says.  The passenger compartment was in pretty good shape after the flames were extinguished, Farley says. You’d have to wonder what might have happened to the driver had it not been for the safety-conscious design of the Model S?

The driver of the Tesla, Dr. Juris Shibayama explained the circumstances behind the fire and echoed the company’s continued claims that the the fires are resulting for accidents and not spontaneous. His whole letter to Tesla is printed at Tesla website.

He continued by telling reporters what happened after he hit a three-pronged trailer hitch in the middle of the road that he was unable to avoid in time. About 30-45 seconds later, there was a warning on the dashboard display saying, “Car needs service. Car may not restart.” I continued to drive, hoping to get home. About one minute later, the message on the dashboard display read, “Please pull over safely. Car is shutting down.” I was able to fully control the car the entire time and safely pulled off the left shoulder on the side of the road. I got out of the car, and started to get all my belongings out. About 5-10 seconds after getting out of the car, smoke started to come from the front underbody of the car. I walked away from the vehicle to a distance of about 100 yards. More smoke started to come out of the bottom of the car, and about two minutes after I walked away, the front of the car caught on fire.

He want on to state that he was completely uninjured and was never anywhere close to flames because they never reached the cabin.

“While driving after I hit the object until I pulled over, the car performed perfectly, and it was a totally controlled situation,” he said. ” … This experience does not in any way make me think that the Tesla Model S is an unsafe car. I would buy another one in a heartbeat.”

The statistics show that although they are on the decline thanks to safer car design, car fires happen quite a lot, with over 187000 in 2011 alone. Here are some other interesting vehicle fire stats from recent history:

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), one out of five reported fires is a car fire. In fact, 18 percent of all fires takes place on a highway or other road and involves a motor vehicle.

· According to the NFPA, 33 car fires are reported every hour across the country, with one person per day dying in a car fire accident in the years between 2002 and 2005.

· According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were 258,000 vehicle fires in 2007 and 385 deaths. There were 1,675 injuries.

· There is a vehicle every 96 seconds in the United States.

Car Fire Stats

While vehicle fires happen often, it gives Tesla owners comfort that while it may happen that a Tesla catches fire when involved in hitting major piece of road debris that would disable any vehicle, the team at Tesla have built a vehicle that not only enables to to safety pull over and exit the vehicle but they have also made a car that is much safer overall than a car with a large tank filled with flammable liquid could ever hope to be.

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