Tesla shares are hot today, up about 6.5 percent as of this post, a day after the electric car maker announced that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reaffirmed the 5-star safety rating for the company’s Model S sedan.
In August, the NHTSA bestowed upon the Model S its highest possible safety rating — and, as Dana Hull wrote, the best safety rating of any car the agency has ever tested. Since then, though, there have been reports of three fires involving the cars, two of them in the United States. Neither driver in each of the U.S. fires was injured.
As Pat May reported, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk gave a spirited defense of the Model S. He also expressed concern and frustration over “a false perception of the safety of electric cars,” saying “you are more than four-and-a-half times more likely to experience a fire in a gasoline car than a Model S.”
The NHTSA in November opened an investigation into the Washington state and Tennessee fires involving the Model S and has yet to announce its findings. In the meantime, a German transportation agency earlier this month found no “manufacturer-related defects,” sparking a Tesla stock rebound. Jeremy Owens wrote that before the fires began to affect the company’s stock price, Tesla shares had been up more than 470 percent this year.
Tesla shares are trading at $152.85 as of this post, off about 2o percent of the closing high of $190.90 they reached in late September.
Photo of a Model S by Patrick Tehan/Mercury News archives