In the past seven weeks, three Tesla Model S electric cars have caught on fire. That news, along with a less than perfect earnings report, has
sent the company’s stock tumbling.
Compared to other automakers, Tesla is small, young, and closely watched by the media, and each of the three fires was widely reported.
So it’s good to keep in mind just how often non-Tesla cars — most of which are filled with gasoline — catch fire.
Try 17 every hour in the United States, between 2006 and 2010. That’s more than 150,000 annually, which kill some 209 civilians every year.
And while vehicle fires hurt more than 750 people every year, the three Tesla fires caused no injuries. CEO Elon Musk, in a blog post explaining the first Model S fire, also drew on stats from the NFPA, writing:
Americans drive about 3 trillion miles per year according to the Department of Transportation. That equates to 1 vehicle fire for every 20 million miles driven, compared to 1 fire in over 100 million miles for Tesla.
Even when that number triples, the Tesla fires are no real reason for concern.
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