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Tesla battery fire pushes beleaguered firm's share price even lower

Stocks rocked by burning Model S and battery shortage

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A third fire in five weeks for Tesla's Model S have sent shares in the electric carmaker down by a further seven per cent.

Stocks were already suffering after news that Tesla didn't have enough batteries to meet demand for its motors and hadn't delivered the number of cars that analysts expected in the third quarter, with its price falling 15 per cent on Wednesday in New York.

Yesterday, the shares dropped another 7.5 per cent before trading closed after an accident in Tennessee.

In a similar scenario to the recent fires in Washington State and Mexico, a Model S battery combusted after the car ran over a tow bar, Bloomberg, The New York Times and others reported.

Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Centre for Auto Safety, has called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to investigate this latest incident.

“The initial failure mode is puncture of the battery pack from road debris,” he said. “The obvious engineering fix would be to add a safety shield. With Tesla, there is some protection there. They just need a better shield.”

But market observers have pointed out that the number of Model S cars that are in accidents and don't catch fire is unknown and regular cars have been known to catch fire after accidents as well.

Electric cars are under particular scrutiny because they're new, so despite the fact that the Model S has received record-high safety ratings, every battery fire seems to dent the market confidence in the firm.

Tesla said that it has sent a team to Tennessee to investigate the accident. No-one was injured in any of the recent Model S incidents. ®

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