Tesla’s extreme attention to detail just never seems to end. The innovative automaker has just implemented a titanium underbody shield, and aluminum deflector plates to their Model S, in an attempt to improve safety on a car that, quite frankly, needs no safety improvements.
The safety features were implemented to reduce the odds of a fire occurring in the vehicle, despite the fact that Tesla notes that their vehicles are five times less likely to cause a fire than a gas car. Furthermore, Tesla has such extreme safety standards for such issues, that in the two Model S’s that have had a fire, the driver had been warned, and safely exited the vehicle before the fire was even noticeable.
And yet Tesla went ahead and made triple underbody shields standard on all Model S’s. In addition, they’re also adding these shields for free to any Model S that was produced before the upgrade. Tesla tried more than 150 tests with the shields, and found that they prevented any possible damage that would result in a fire, or any damage from reaching the battery pack.
The underbody shields begin with an aluminum bar that serves to deflect small objects, while absorbing larger objects, and redirecting them away from the battery pack. The second of the three shields is a titanium plate, which keeps road objects from damaging sensitive underbody parts. For pesky objects that make it through the first two shields, the third adds further protection and redirection, and, if needed, allows the car to ramp over the object to avoid damage.
The coolest part of this all, is that Tesla outfitted their test vehicles with underbody cameras, so they could see what happens. In their announcement of these upgrades, they posted GIFs of the car running over a tow hitch, a concrete block, and an alternator . . . and absolutely obliterating all three.
Tesla prides itself on the fact that no has died – or even had a serious life-altering injury – in their vehicles. So why the upgrade? Well, they say it’s so that drivers can be even more comfortable. The two fires that have been reported in the Model S – despite Tesla’s insistence that there was never any serious danger – was two too many, so Tesla’s shooting to eliminate them.
And since they were able to do so without impacting ride or handling, and only having a 0.1% impact on range . . . why not?
Photo Credit: Tesla Motors