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Tesla adds titanium shield to Model S to prevent battery fires in accidents

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Last year, a few of Tesla's Model S vehicles caught on fire following accidents — a situation that caused a bit of embarrassing public backlash for Elon Musk and his company. Despite the fact that Musk has steadfastly defended the safety of his vehicle, the company has announced a fix for the cause of the reported fires. In a post on Medium, Musk details a new titanium shield and aluminum deflector plates that protect the underbody of the vehicle — all cars produced after March 6th will have this new safety system in place, and existing vehicles can have it added free of charge.

"There is no safer car on the road than a Tesla."

This should fix the cause of previous Tesla fires — in those collisions, the shield protecting the battery was compromised when the cars struck metallic objects in the road at high speed. Now, in addition to "existing quarter inch of ballistic grade aluminum armor plate that already protects the battery pack," the Model S will have another protective layer in place. In conjunction with this new fix, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced that it is closing its investigation into the Model S fires, reports the AP.

Musk says that the company tested the new protective shield 152 times, hitting objects like a concrete block, a steel alternator, and a three-tow hitch, none of which caused any damage to the car. The added weight of this new safety system shouldn't affect the car's longevity — Musk says it'll only have a 0.1 percent impact on the vehicle's range. If you want to see these tests in action, Musk posted a number of GIFs detailing these collisions in his Medium post — they were shot with high-speed cameras attached to the underside of the vehicles during testing.