NHTSA denies request to investigate Tesla vehicle fires

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced on Monday it has formally rejected a request to investigate Tesla vehicle fires.

The petition was originally filed all the way back in October 2019 over “non-crash fires”, including at least three reported to have taken place in China.

At the time the NHTSA said it would review whether Tesla’s software update to fix a potential defect that could result in a battery fire was sufficient, or whether the automaker should have recalled the vehicles in question.

According to the petition, the complainant said Tesla was using the software update to “mask and cover up a potentially widespread and dangerous issue with the batteries in their vehicles.”

After a two-year review, the NHTSA has concluded the petition is without merit and denied the request for a formal investigation.

“Tesla’s investigation of the non-crash fires in China did not identify a root cause or positively link the incidents to any design or manufacturing defect conditions. The available data indicate that non-crash battery fires in Tesla vehicles are rare events.” (via Reuters)

A further statement from the NHTSA explains they classified them as rare since there were no further fires in China or the US during the time in question.

“No fires related to the subject condition have been observed globally since three fires in China and Hong Kong over a 48-day period from late-March to mid-May 2019. There have [also] been no fires in the United States related” to the issue.

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