1. 2013

    No, really. Teslas are safe.

    Evidently my post from a week ago on the rate of fires in Tesla electric cars compared to gas cars couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. People are still harping on the recent string of Tesla Model S fires, despite the fact that — as I showed in my last post — there’s no evidence to suggest that the fire risk in a Tesla is any greater than that of a regular car. In fact, if anything it seems to be slightly less.

    In my last post I kind of hinted at the fact that the rate of fires isn’t the whole story. Even if a fire does happen, your risk of getting injured or killed is different in a Tesla than a normal car. Something similar goes for other types of accidents. So if you want to tell whether Teslas are safe, what you probably should be looking at is the overall rate of injuries and fatalities for Tesla drivers and passengers, compared to the equivalent for gas cars. And that number tells a very interesting story: Tesla CEO Elon Musk has written a new blog post which emphasizes that not one person has ever been …

  2. 2013

    Do Teslas really catch on fire less than gas cars?

    About a month ago, this happened: a Tesla Model S (electric car) ran over a large piece of metal which punctured its battery compartment, and the car caught on fire. It was a big deal because, according to CEO Elon Musk’s blog post (first link above), that was the first time a Tesla has caught on fire.

    Since then there have been two more similar incidents in which a Tesla was involved in an accident and caught fire. Naturally, people are getting concerned: three high-profile fires in one month is a lot! But these incidents get more than their share of attention because electric cars are new technology without a proven safety record. So the question we all should be asking is, how does the fire risk in a Tesla compare to that of a regular, gas-powered car?

    Most of Elon’s blog post about the first incident discusses how well the safety features of the car performed after it did catch on fire, and how this would have been a catastrophic event if the car were gas-powered like a normal car, and now we should all be driving electric cars and so on. My interest here is purely …