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Possible outcomes of NHTSA investigation and Tesla response

Discussion in 'TSLA Investor Discussions' started by dm33, Nov 29, 2013.

  1. dm33

    dm33 Member

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    This thread is NOT intended to debate if there is an increased fire risk from collision with road debris. There are plenty of other threads to discuss that.

    This thread assumes that there is an increased risk. If you don't agree, debate it in other the other threads.

    The question here is, if you assume an increased risk, what are the possible outcomes of the NHTSA investigation?

    Possible outcomes I can think of include:

    1. NHTSA decides to do nothing. Increased risk is deemed acceptable. There have been no injuries so far. Crash test results have been excellent. No markedly increased risk of injury. Possibly state an increased risk of damage or maybe a slightly increased risk of injury but nothing significant enough to warrant any changes to the vehicle.

    2. Some action required of Tesla. Could be as simple as raising the default height, which Tesla has already done. Or a requirement to further reinforce the battery, possibly with a steel shield, more compartments, additional fire retardant, etc. This seems to be the biggest question. What can reasonably be done to improve its fire resistance in this type of accident and is NHTSA likely to require some action.

    3. NHTSA declares the battery technology too volatile or requires a level of battery protection that is an unreasonably large design change to the model S, such as requiring it be moved from the bottom of the vehicle.

    I tend to think its #3 that the market is worried about. If this were to occur it might mean the end of Tesla. This does not look like a realistic outcome. NHTSA would have little to stand on to require a major change to the Model S given its safety record regarding injuries. I would assume the benchmark should be: is there a significant and blatant safety defect that can be reasonably corrected that puts the Model S at clearly higher risk of injury vs. an ICE. That bar is no where near reached. This outcome thereby looks highly unlikely.

    If #2 occurs and NHTSA requires some action, what is the likely effect to Tesla stock? If its a minor change such as raising the car height, then the stock may rally. If its a more complex but still minor fix, the financial impact of slowing production and raised costs would factor into the equation. Stock may stay where it is or go down slightly. A more significant change would affect the stock more.

    If #1 occurs, the stock should rally.

    Thoughts, comments? (Assuming heightened risk. If you don't agree debate in other threads)
     
  2. tray loader

    tray loader Member

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    #2 tray loader, Nov 29, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2013
    IMHO it will lead to a reinforcement of the bottom, but not a severe recall.

    • with a recall BOTH parties, the NHTSA and TSLA will loose their face.The NHTSA for negelecting the teething problems of a vital field in worldwide future transportation technology and/or being not up to par to a new technology at all.The documents of the lockheed subsidiary in New Mexico who`s running the torture tests for the battery industry already showed a severe delayed reception in this field.
    TSLA for listening to bean counters and wall street instead of customers.So they´re all in this together and some behind the scenes negotiations going on.
    • a shutdown and bancrupcy of TSLA will politically and geo strategically never happen.It´s one of the last innovative hardware fields of the USA, the only alternative amongst the "not willing to move auto industry".This would run much deeper than to merely loose a company.SpaceX would get hurt, Obama would loose his face.Tea party would have the last word. Won´t happen.
     
  3. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    NHTSA is not going to put in a one-for-them rule. Anything rule change would affect new cars. Theee are a number of low-riding cars affected by debris.

    Road debris is a known problem, and it is also known to cause direct injury through piercingthe floor. I suspect they'll be happy with the results of increased default ride height and user configurability. (At 11/29/2013 it's 23 days since last fire). But I'm sure they'll also work with Tesla to see if they can agree an easy enhancement because that's something that'll look good politically.
     
  4. Raffy.Roma

    Raffy.Roma Active Member

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    + 1.
     
  5. Zythryn

    Zythryn MS 70D, MX 90D

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    Without knowing what their investigation concludes, speculation about what they will do is pointless.
    You basically are speculating about speculations.
     
  6. Chickenlittle

    Chickenlittle Active Member

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    You start with the assumption of increased fire risk. I assume your next post will be let's assume that the aluminum in teslas rust. Looking at your past comments is very instructive to see the purpose behind this. Also believe once you put a post out there you cannot tell people how to respond. It is very worthwhile to point out that there is no evidence of increased risk of fire yet and hence your postulate is speculation at best
     
  7. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    This is a terrific thread.

    It belongs right up there with the "IF you are to be commended for no longer beating your wife, how might your parole officer be treating you"?


    Or,

    How do you spell "agenda"?

    Sheesh.
     
  8. NoMoGas

    NoMoGas Member

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    I object to this entire thread. It's beyond ludicrous to "assume" there is an increased risk... THERE ISN'T. There is a reason Elon Musk ASKED FOR the NHTSA investigation, to put this nonsense to rest.
     
  9. EnergyMax

    EnergyMax Member

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    Exactly. People are clearly not understanding risks and overall safety. If there are any directives placed on Tesla, then the logical followup is that all ICE manufacturers will go bankrupt with the corresponding recall.
     
  10. Raffy.Roma

    Raffy.Roma Active Member

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    I agree with the last posts. My previous post meant that there will be no recall because the starting hypothesis of heightened fire risk is wrong.
     
  11. Norbert

    Norbert TSLA will win

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    The next step is a trolls-only thread.

    None of the numbers we have support any theory that the risk is "heightened". The risk is just *different*, subject to different causation.

    I have no idea what your real intent is with this thread, but it sounds like using sugar-coating and formalities, to get a foot in the door for this forum to tolerate the claim that there is a problem above the accepted level of other (gasoline) cars.

    Apart from a low sample size in a statistical sense, we'd still have to expect the risk to be significantly lower, in so far as we want to draw any preliminary conclusions at all. And BTW, I think the distinction between new and old cars is FUD for as long as there isn't any reason to believe that old batteries are more prone to fire than new ones. And as far as I know there isn't. That being the case for gasoline cars is a non-sequitur.

    But maybe you just chose an unfortunate form to express whatever you really wanted to say.
     
  12. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    #12 ItsNotAboutTheMoney, Nov 29, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2013
    Nissan Leaf
    Chevrolet Volt
    Toyota Prius Plug-in
    Ford CMax Energi
    Ford Fusion Energi

    The total number of these vehicles on the road in the USA is much greater than the number of Model S, and as far as I am aware none of the above cars has had a battery fire (other than the test Volt) let alone one caused by road debris. Sure, the OP's a drum-beating troll, but you fight trolls with light, not lies. The Model S has a specific heightened risk of battery fire. It does not apparently have a hieghtened risk from battery fire. Please direct your vitriol at the troll's leading choice of words such as "no markedly" instead of "negligible if any" which presupposed the risk from the fire.

    Also, go back and read Elon Musk's statement: it does not say that they asked the NHTSA to investigate, it says that hpthey asked them to complete a full investigation as soon as possible.
     
  13. Norbert

    Norbert TSLA will win

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    Sorry, I can't follow you on that one. In the context of a NHTSA investigation, the comparison level is cars-in-general, which means gasoline cars. Not low-capacity EVs with small batteries.
     
  14. Chickenlittle

    Chickenlittle Active Member

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    reminds me of a picture someone posted with a totaled volt that didn't catch fire with the driver standing next to it on crutches with huge cast. What outcome do you prefer? Both cars totaled but no injuries in tesla

    - - - Updated - - -

    Remember it's about safety not preservation of the car
     
  15. abasile

    abasile Independent Software Eng.

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    This thread seems reasonable to me. Tesla has made a set of design choices that are rather unique. It is my hope and expectation that NHTSA will properly consider the overall picture rather than exaggerating the importance of a particular area of vulnerability. As others have pointed out, to achieve long driving range, Tesla has expertly engineered around a battery chemistry that is less stable than the chemistries used in today's short range EVs. If I were to run over a large piece of road debris in my LEAF the chances of that leading to a battery pack fire would be virtually zero. On the other hand, I highly doubt that the LEAF would do as good a job as the Model S in protecting me from injury. With a conventional car, the odds would be worse still.

    I would have absolutely no hesitation to purchase a Tesla S, continue to believe it is an extremely safe car, and hope to purchase a Model X after first reaching some other financial goals.
     
  16. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    I'm not sure what you mean by "increased risk". Relative to *what*?

    I believe that the risk of fire caused by collision is lower in the Tesla Model S than in an average ICE car, or even an average recent ICE car.
    I believe that there is probably some obscure individual extant model of ICE car which has risk of fire due to collision which is lower than the risk of fire due to collision in the Model S.
    I also believe that the risk of fire in a Tesla Model S due to collision is higher than the risk of spontaneous fire in the Model S.
    I also believe that the risk of injury due to fire in a Tesla Model S is far, *far* lower than the risk of injury due to fire in an ICE car.

    It can be very hard to state things clearly and unambiguously... I guess that's what symbolic logic is for...
     
  17. Mario Kadastik

    Mario Kadastik Active Member

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    I think any kind of comparison to Nissan Leaf etc is b******t because who in their right mind would take a Nissan Leaf onto highways for high speed driving? Going at 70-80mph the range of the car would be what 30-40 miles at best? So high speed impacts with road debris is going to be a very infrequent event for those cars because first off they're not driven at high speed and they aren't really driven that much on highways where such debris would occur in the first place. Majority of those cars are city dwellers and perfect for it. Model S is the first EV to really do long distance highway driving and therefore much more likely to get involved in a debris accident. Again, apples, oranges and pork chops in the comparison...
     
  18. woof

    woof Model S #P683 Blue 85 kWh

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    I commute to work daily in a non-Tesla EV 30 miles each way--20 miles of which are on highways at speeds of 55-75 MPH. I was going to get a LEAF, so had I not gotten the ActiveE, I'd be driving a LEAF today on the highway instead. Right now I've about 30K miles on the ActiveE, and as it used solely for commuting that translates to 20K high speed miles. I believe I am in my right mind in doing so. I doubt I'm the only one. :biggrin:
     
  19. TSLAopt

    TSLAopt Active Member

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    You are not the only one of course but you are one of a very small minority relative to Tesla owners. In my own observations, I rarely see any electric cars on highways. However I have seen more and more Teslas on the highway over the past 6-9 months and I live in the NY metropolitan area and am on the highways everyday.
    I also see a lot of more Leafs on the road now too over the past year or so, just rarely on the highways.
     
  20. dennis

    dennis P85D

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    We see lots of EVs on the highways in California, especially in the HOV lane. :wink:
     

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