Wonderful Engineering

Here’s How Tesla Model S Protects Its Underbody Battery From Rupturing

Tesla is known for its capability of making sure that it remains safe and durable. However, this reputation was put to the test last year when a number of Model S vehicles ended up bursting into flames after going over debris. As per the CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, these fires were a direct consequence of unusual underbody damage that punctured the car’s Lithium-ion batteries.

Tesla didn’t just leave it at that; rather, it geared up to avoid any further PR nightmare such as this. All of the new Model S cars that are coming from the assembly line have a titanium underbody shield to prevent any such incident from happening. The company started off its preventive measures in the form of a software update that was sent out to Model S. This particular software update raised the default ground clearance of the Model S at highway speeds. However, more meaningful and concrete steps had to be taken.

This led to the installation of a new titanium plate. Elon claims that this titanium shield renders the chances of a catastrophic puncture of the battery to essentially zero. Furthermore, all Tesla owners who currently own Model S shall get a shield installed free of cost on their next service visit. The titanium shield is comprised of three parts. The front of the shield features a hollow aluminum bar that is capable of deflecting objects. The next part of the titanium sheet is aimed at preventing objects from getting thrust upwards into your car’s body. Finally, the last part of the aluminum is mounted at a shallow angle and keeps all other debris at bay.

The company has tested the new system quite extensively and also filmed it using high-speed cameras. This takes away any doubt that we had. The underbody was able to handle chunks of concrete, steel alternator, and even a trailer hitch. Even if a battery fire does break out in Tesla, you need not worry; the company’s special ceramic firewall will prevent the passenger compartment from getting burned.