High-speed video clips show improvements to reduce the chance of collision-induced battery fires.
2013 was a very good year for Tesla with the exception of two Model S cars that caught fire in a relatively short span of time. The incidents got a lot of attention in the media and resulted in a reality check for Tesla’s soaring stock price. Questions began to resurface over the vulnerability of the battery pack in electric cars and just how protection occupants would have in the event of a collision. For the record, the occupants involved in each of the mentioned accidents walked away unharmed and existing Tesla warning systems functioned properly to alert the need to leave the vehicle.
Since then, Tesla engineers have been looking for ways to improve protection around the battery and reduce the chance of objects striking the packs and potentially rupturing the batteries. Their solution is a triple underbody deflector shield made up of aluminum tubing and a titanium plate which work together to deflect objects away from the batteries and shield the packs from impact.
Elon Musk, Chairman, Product Architect and CEO of Tesla created a post on Medium to explain the new feature. In the post, Musk shared three GIFs of high speed footage taken underneath a Model S in three impact test scenarios. The new shield system successfully deflects a concrete block, hardened steel trailer hitch and an automotive alternator away from the internal battery pack.
The use of GIFs make seeing the evidence hard to ignore. Rather than releasing static photos or a video, GIFs effortlessly show the results over and over again. For Tesla these simple GIFs may be the key to solidifying public opinion about Tesla’s commitment to occupant safety.