March 28, 2014
Though Tesla Motors Inc. is carefully refusing to use the word “recall,” it has announced plans to reinforce the undercarriage of about 16,000 cars with high-strength shields to reduce the risk of damage from a crash starting a fire.
Elon Musk, the electric car company’s chief executive, outlined the retrofit Friday morning, at the same time the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that it has signed off on the changes and was closing a probe into two fires that occurred in Tesla Model S sports sedans.
Both fires started after road debris penetrated the undercarriage battery packs that power the Tesla.
Although functionally the two announcements work as a recall, Tesla has fought regulators over the use of the word, not wanting to be linked to the giant recalls that have plagued traditional automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Co.