"Battery Not Sufficiently Protected"??

"Battery Not Sufficiently Protected"??

Can any battery experts out there confirm or deny this article?

From what I have read Tesla made their batteries super safe as their 1st priority so I have a hard time believing this.

carlk | October 31, 2013

It's pure speculation without any data (such as NHTSA test)to back it up. Not to mention the author is an ICE guy and never liked EV (I did some search).

Fredlambert | October 31, 2013

The source is from GM.

3 different Volt that the NHTSA tested went up in flames.
They don't have any lesson to give to Tesla.

redders | October 31, 2013

"Reports from unnamed sources critical of competitors are not the most reliable". Uh..yeah. That's why you shouldn't quote them....

If you mean what you say a the beginning, don't continue with the rest of the topic.

I'll try something similar: "No offense, but.... you're a rubbish journalist".

Bane | October 31, 2013

Blah, Blah, Blah.

Too late, this train has left the station, they cant stop Tesla now.

In actual real news
Mercedes just announced today they want to collaborate more with Tesla. One of the best most established car companies in world is not going to team up with just anyone.

From your friendly neighborhood P85+ Tesla man in Vancouver BC, consistently dusting off every performance car that comes my way.

stevenmaifert | October 31, 2013

I think it's too soon to draw any conclusions about the safety of the ModS battery. And to be fair to the Volt, if the battery is damaged in an accident test, you let the car sit for three weeks, and you don't follow the manufacturers recommendation to discharge the energy from the damaged battery, why should you be surprised that it caught fire? As of the NHTSA final report (, there has never been a real world accident situation where the Volt battery caught fire. Tesla can't say that about ModS.

carolinagobo | October 31, 2013

Once again the Trolls are back.

jk2014 | October 31, 2013

The only expert in the entire world on commercialized automotive battery tech is Tesla itself. Please tell me who else is the world has over 100m millions of data on automotive battery tech performance? Please, oh please tell me...

All the negative articles coming out from anyone and everyone are from people that refuse to accept Tesla's market valuation. They feel it is an affront to everything they know about valuing auto companies. They must be correct and drive the stock price down or they will lose all credibility with customers, investors, and themselves. It's more a battle of self preservation (analysts and the like) then actual neutral/unbias value analysis.

b1berns | October 31, 2013

A1A Abrams tank does not have adequate protection either!

It lights up like a candle, when hit with proper air to ground missile!

AmpedRealtor | October 31, 2013

I love all of the armchair analysts out there in the blogosphere who pull opinions out of their rear ends and have no accountability because they don't consider themselves journalists. And I'm going to believe those idiots... right.

N6JRA | October 31, 2013

This is absurd. Gas cars have an average of 150,000 fires every single year. This fear mongering because of 2 fires (one was in a 120 MPH crash with a cement barricade and the other was a complete freak accident where a large metal object that was shaped in such a way as to provide 24 tons of pressure puncturing the battery pack) is disingenuous to say the least. Both accidents by the way, the drivers walked away. The same fear mongering took place after the Chevy Volt first came to market.

Make no mistake, these controversies are being pushed by people with an anti-EV agenda. They want us to believe hauling around 40 gallons of flammable liquid in a tank is a better idea then hauling around a battery. It’s a moronic position.

Gizmotoy | October 31, 2013

@JimAlger: There was actually a third "happening." Someone hit a tow hook, slightly denting the battery's armor, resulting in the battery needing replaced. $40k-$50k damage, depending on refurbished/new battery.

If anything, I think that better illustrates the guy's point than the two fires where the battery compartment was punctured. But them, I'm not trolling for hits or a stock slide, either.

jk2014 | October 31, 2013

I don't think it's an anti-EV agenda as so much as a pro money making agenda, at least from wall street perspective.

Sure, competitors (Audi/Porsche/BMV) like that Tesla is receiving negative press (especially battery on fire press) since they are losing buyers. And sure, maybe even oil/gas companies might see a decreased demand for gasoline in the long term.

However, the real motivation for the negative news in purely about making money off a short position (as well as a long position).

When the fact that Tesla hits a million car a year in production and increases steadily for a decade after, then even the established autos and big oil/gas will put out good press for Tesla. They will have stock and or ammending their business models to accommodate the booming ev market. Money is money, bottom line is the bottom line, so if ev market will increase it they will be there with bells on.

Another reason why Tesla being a for profit company is extremely important for our energy production/consumption transformation to a sustainable one.

Captain_Zap | October 31, 2013


I certainly wouldn't use that as a comparison.

Gizmotoy | October 31, 2013

?? I didn't compare anything.

David Trushin | October 31, 2013

Gas tank on my ICE not sufficiently protected!

Captain_Zap | October 31, 2013

@Gizmotoy- I meant that I wouldn't compare the first two events with the other event and call it a third event. The last event did not result in combustion.

thranx | October 31, 2013

@b1bern; "Whereas the anti-tank missile hitting the Tesla did not impact the occupants."

I could post that as an alternative and there would be believers.

If I had the money to make a satirical video....

Gizmotoy | October 31, 2013

@Captain_Zap: And that was extremely clear in my post... still not sure what you're getting at.

The argument was that the battery is insufficiently protected, and I said that denting accident was a better proof of his argument than the two accidents resulting in fires. Nothing revolutionary there.

Tiebreaker | October 31, 2013

@Gizmotoy - How did that happen?

Gizmotoy | October 31, 2013

@Tiebreaker: If you're an owner or reservation holder you can read the thread here.

If not, quick summary: Model S driver ran over a tow bar (ball connected to square steel tubing). It dented the front of the aluminum armor plate protecting the battery, and scratched/gouged the armor as it passed. No punctures, but despite looking pretty minor the battery tray was apparently deformed enough to require replacement. Replacement with a refurb pack was quoted at $40k, and a new pack was $50k.

renwo S alset | October 31, 2013

Obviously from Fox News school of journalism. If you don't disclose who "they" are or claim "undisclosed sources", you are probably just making it up. I don't think "battery experts" need to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.

Brian H | October 31, 2013

Tesla cells are really hard to ignite:
Intumescent goo
Having radically simplified the cells, Tesla then designed simple and inexpensive fireproofing systems into its battery pack. Among many innovations, Tesla appears to have incorporated a form of intumescent goo that it sprays onto the interior of the pack to aid in fireproofing.
When exposed to heat, a chemical reaction occurs in the goo that helps cool the heat source, while simultaneously forming a fireproof barrier to protect the rest of the pack.
In testing by Tesla, this material often cooled cells experiencing a runaway reaction--to the point that many failed to ignite at all--and provided a fireproof barrier surrounding those that ignited.

Luclyluciano | October 31, 2013

Needing to replace a battery pack at a cost of $40-$50k because you ran something over is far from trolling.

Brian H | November 2, 2013

Did the car have insurance? Usually required to drive.

Luclyluciano | November 2, 2013

@ Brian H ;

When was this last time anyone ran over an object to damage the bottom of an ICE car and caused $50,000 damage. This is not good for the reputation thus the ratings of the car with insurance co.'s as far as a daily driver goes.

Mark E | November 2, 2013


My Porsche mechanic had to repair a car that ran over a 'silent cop' (a metal small metal pylon put in the centre of some intersections years ago). It tore the sump off immediately dumping the oil out. The engine was totalled, priced a replacement Porsche engine recently? Include labour for the swap. A full rebuild can run $30k using existing parts.

Mark E | November 2, 2013

Of course, I'd expect that there should have been some credit given for the core of a dented battery pack.

Luclyluciano | November 2, 2013

Factory Reman
"Last August, I had to replace my engine in a 2006 997S with 57,824 miles. IMS failure was to blame.

Porsche North America required installation by a Porsche dealer. Jim Ellis Porsche in Atlanta did the work. It took two days. Labor & Parts: $35,589.69 -Less core return (-$17,445.33) = Actual cost $18,144.36

Came with a two-year warranty."

I wonder if there is a significant rebate for the damaged battery like there was for the Porche.

Suprkar | November 2, 2013

I have been concerned about the battery protection not being good enough since I took delivery. The pictures of the damaged pack make my fears worse. I would not want my Insurance Company to have to replace the pack due to a small amount of damage as shown in the pictures. Cost for Model S insurance will increase by quite a bit with what I have been reading between here and Tesla Motors Club. What I would consider repairable damage on an ICE turns into a total on a Tesla S.

Luclyluciano | November 3, 2013

+1. My thoughts exactly.

Neech | November 3, 2013

The Volt's batteries are inside the passenger compartment, so of course they wouldn't get damaged as easily. The MS battery is covered with armor, but nothing is perfect. I'll take the many advantages the MS battery has over any worries of a rare accident damaging it. And I trust Tesla much more than I would ever trust GM, Ford, or Chevy to make a quality car.

Dramsey | November 3, 2013

Please tell me who else is the world has over 100m millions of data on automotive battery tech performance? Please, oh please tell me...


Dramsey | November 3, 2013

Obviously from Fox News school of journalism. If you don't disclose who "they" are or claim "undisclosed sources", you are probably just making it up.

I was just thinking the other day that Fox News is the only news vendor in the world that uses unnamed sources. Nobody else ever does. Ever. Certainly not MSNBC, the New York Times, CNN, Reuters, or any of those guys.

carlk | November 3, 2013

"I was just thinking the other day that Fox News is the only news vendor in the world that uses unnamed sources. Nobody else ever does. Ever. Certainly not MSNBC, the New York Times, CNN, Reuters, or any of those guys."

That's one level down even than those tabloids which usually have a real source just they don't care much if the source is a reliable one or not. They learned their lessons not to make up stories after been sued for so many times.

coll1951 | November 3, 2013

I've heard the term armor being used for the battery covering, and one report said that is was aluminum, and as Elon has said, it is quarter inch armor plating. Armor conjures up the idea of bullet proof, quarter inch aluminum is not bullet proof. A better description would be just quarter inch aluminum plate, and leave off the armor, which it doesn't appear to be. If it was actual armor plate it would weigh 500 pounds, and those Seattle firemen would not have been able to punch holes. I've worked around metals, and quarter inch steel armor plate is tough stuff. Only an acetylene cutting torch will work, and I wouldn't advise that around lithium ion batteries.

polyphase | November 3, 2013

The flip comment is that expensive cars are expensive to repair. The longer one is that "sufficient" protection is a design choice. If the car is totaled, the driver walks away and then the car burns to the ground do we say the battery protection is insufficient? No, we say the car offered sufficient protection for the driver in a crash. The two Tesla fires to date seem like they occurred after accidents that would "total" any car. Now if you say the becomes totaled because of the fire, then we have an economic issue, I grant you. So the insurance companies have to determine if Teslas are more or less costly to them. More expensive to repair but lower medical bills? My 10 days in the hospital cost the insurance company $90K (not crash related). USAA charges me $1355 a year with a $2000 deductible in NJ.

jk2014 | November 3, 2013

Dramsey --

I think Toyota would disagree with you there. They would certainly tell you they don't have an all electric battery powered branded vehicle with 100 million miles of real world milage on it...

Tâm | November 3, 2013

I tend to agree with @polyphase.

It’s possible to super-protect the battery pack but at the expense of cost, weight, space, design…

Remember, Tesla does not guarantee battery pack in a crash. The very expensive battery pack is replaceable but human is irreplaceable.

Thus, the emphasis should be on the protection of the cabin and everything else should be sacrificed for the good of human and pets in the cabin.