U.S. safety regulators began investigations into the company’s Model S luxury electric cars in November after three cars caught fire.
To improve things, Tesla provided an over-the-air software update a few months ago to increase the default ground clearance of the Model S at highway speeds, substantially reducing the odds of a severe underbody impact. In November, Tesla also said it would extend warranty coverage to fire claims.
NHTSA said in closing its investigation because it “believes impacts with road debris are normal and foreseeable. In this case, Tesla’s revision of vehicle ride height and addition of increased underbody protection should reduce both the frequency of underbody strikes and the resultant fire risk. A defect trend has not been identified. Accordingly, the investigation is closed.”
Tesla said it started adding the safety features to vehicles in production on March 6 and will retrofit existing cars at owners’ request.
“We felt it was important to bring this risk down to virtually zero to give Model S owners complete peace of mind,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk. He said the new devices will only reduce the Model S range on a single charge by 0.1 percent. “There is no safer car on the road than a Tesla.”