Screenshot 2013-12-19 08.16.39

TESLA FIRE!..is practically the headline of the Reuters ‘exclusive‘. MAYBE!

A fire department in Southern California said a garage fire may have been caused by an overheated charging system in a Tesla Model S sedan, in the latest link between the top selling electric car and the potential for fire.

While Tesla Motors Inc maintains that the fire was not related to the car or its charging system, the Orange County Fire Authority said the Tesla-supplied charging system or the connection at the electricity panel on the wall of the garage of a single-family home could have caused the fire.

Except the fire wasn’t caused by the Model S according to Tesla. Spokeswoman Liz Jarvis-Shean went on the record:

“We looked into the incident.  We can say it absolutely was not the car, the battery or the charging electronics.”

“The cable was fine on the vehicle side. All the damage was on the wall side.

“A review of the car’s logs showed that the battery had been charging normally, and there were no fluctuations in temperature or malfunctions within the battery or the charge electronics.”

Steve Concialdi, a spokesman for the Orange County Fire Authority, told Bloomberg that investigators have concluded the fire had nothing to do with the car battery, but can’t determine whether it was caused by the charger or began in the wall socket.

At best, it sounds like the fire could have been caused by the electrical system where the Model S was plugged in. Perhaps a substandard wire that wasn’t rated for the amperage the Tesla requires was installed from the electricity panel to the charging outlet. That would be my guess with the facts laid out here.

Tesla’s stock price was down yesterday on the news even though it had announced major expansion and $35M tax break on the equipment for that expansion.

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