Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors has announced that it will begin installing more protective shields on its Model S cars to protect the batteries from being penetrated by debris from the road, effectively ending the NHTSA investigation of the vehicle’s safety after two cars were set on fire after puncturing their aluminum shields.
The new shields will use an aluminum bar, titanium plate and another piece of aluminum to supplement the present ¼ inch aluminum plates. The company has already revised the car’s design by raising the ride height.
“These improvements should bring the risk of debris striking the battery down to virtually zero and give Model S owners complete peace of mind,” added Musk. “While the new shields are not needed for a high level of safety, it’s valuable to minimize inconvenience to owners and address any misperceptions about electric car safety.”
In the meantime, Tesla has reached an accord with New York State allowing it to continue selling its cars directly to New York consumers at its five current locations (two of which are located on Long Island). Legislation had been introduced into the state’s Assembly and Senate to bar the company from selling its vehicles directly to the public, bypassing traditional dealerships, similar to a bill passed in New Jersey earlier this month (see http://www.examiner.com/article/nj-assemblyman-looks-to-overturn-state-b...).
To date, the NY DMV reports that more than 600 cars have been registered in the state. The new compromise is expected to permit Tesla to open more locations here, “provided that it abides by a strengthened dealership franchise law,” stated the Cuomo administration (without further elaboration. Tesla currently has stores and galleries in 21 states. It also hopes to be able to offer a more “affordable” model within four years. Tesla’s Model S currently sells for (a base price) of $71,000, while the projected price for a new model will start around $30,000, if things develop according to plans.