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Perception about Tesla from a prospective customer

Yesterday something interesting happened. As I had stopped to pick up coffee in my Tesla, a gentleman came to me asked if I had few minutes to talk about Tesla.

He said he had placed a deposit on Tesla but no longer sure of its safety after watching the news regarding the fire. He wanted to know if I have any regrets buying Tesla. Of course the next 20+ minutes I tried to tell him how safe the car really is. I had shown him the Musk's recent press release and explain what exactly could have happened.

After that conversation he said he is convinced that he will go ahead with Model S which I was very happy to hear about.

Which brings up a very important point. The recent fire has potential Tesla customers worried. I know its only once instance but the ICE companies and dealer network is doing their best to spread the panic.

Not sure if you guys had similar experiences.

I have. I told friends I had bought it and everyone reached out after the fire to ask about it. But I have seen car engine fires and so I expect that any car can have a fire given the right combination of occurrences. It isn't a common occurrence and I wouldn't expect a Tesla fire to be a common occurrence. Also, I think it is fair to say that usually an ICE fire will involve a combustion event that doesn't give a lot of time to escape. This was not the case with the fire involved for the Tesla. The fact that he had time to pull over and get out, and that the fire stayed contained, if anything those facts reinforced my perception of the car as safer than the typical ICE car.

Strange coincidence or not, my trip to LA was jarred by a near hit of a large metal object in the i10/110 intersection. I have been driving for over 28 years and I can't recall anything as dangerous as that in any my ICE and now Electric cars.

I feel safer in my Tesla than in any other ICE car. The battery is nothing compared to the gas tank in the danger in sudden potential energy release.

What has happened will happen again. As long as the car provides warning and its integrity keeps the passengers safe, we have a WINNER here!

Enjoy and avoid hitting things.

There has been so much positive news about Tesla in the past six months -- the safety ratings, Consumer Reports, Motor Trend Car of the Year, the stock price going up so fast -- that the public has their attention engaged. And the media loves to bring down a high-flying company or person with a story that can be spun as a negative. Many of my friends have contacted me about the Tesla fire story, if I still had my Mercedes they would have never contacted me about a Mercedes fire (and that's if the media had even covered a Mercedes fire).

+1 WSE51

I think that after more time has passed and more Teslas are on the road we will learn that the rate of car fires will go down in general and the rate of serious injuries and fatalities will be reduced on our roadways.

So far there have been no fatalities in a Model S. At the same time there has been some very, very serious accidents in Model S cars. One person sheared off a telephone pole and was virtually unscathed. Many are convinced that the Model S saved their lives.

One of my "friends" told me not to drive my model S because it might spontaneously erupt into flames. Another "friend" offered me $10k for my model S. I told them both to take a hike.

Another remarkable thing is that the battery kept pumping power to the motor, so he could still drive to safety, AFTER it had been punctured. That's some modular design!

stephen;
Tell your friend that for $10K you'll give him 10 1-hr. test rides (as a passenger).

I was at an event last Saturday and several people that knew I drove an S came up to discuss the car. All positives and excitement.
Literally around 7 people near me wanting to discuss Tesla and the S when one says " now what is this fire in the battery all about"?
I could not get the words out of my mouth fast enough when two other people there discussed the safety of the car, the way it properly worked, and then speculated on what could have happened in an ICE car under similar circumstances.

I think that Tesla has an army of admirers that will never own the car, but know it as we'll if not better than many owners.

When I walked into the office at work today, a co-worker asked me if my car had burst into flames yet. I just played along and said "yes, every time I push the accelerator pedal". I just have to keep it under 88Mph.

just wait until the fist dead person after a Tesla crashed, it will happen is a car and it moves. For sure people will question safety issues, some people in this forum suggest a fire extinguisher like Boeing airplanes, how ridiculous, Tesla is not an airplane is a very nice technological car, it will crash, some one will get kill in an accident and it won't be the last fire, no because flaw design, because accidents happened, lets see what happen when the first drunk crash against a wall at 130 mph, for sure the battery will ignite because is physics.

EVMD:
Say wha'?

Somehow Tesla went from being a revolutionary EV to needing to solve every single driving problem on earth - including vehicle fires and accident fatalities. I concur with EVMD. Also please remember that there are a lot of people in this country (millions) who lack the ability to think for themselves and need someone in a higher perceived position of authority telling them what to think and believe.

Like the Broder incident, this news will fade into the background while the critics hunt for a new reason to put Tesla on trial in the media.

IMHO, if you are so ignorant that you judge a product or system based purely upon hyperbolic innuendo, you don't deserve to obtain use of that product or system.

A doctor friend of mine (Mercedes owner) and his buddy both advised me to rethink my interest in the Model S after the car fire. I explained the points that Elon made in his letter. They asked if I watched the video of the car fire itself. I said no. They said "Oh, you gotta watch it! THAT will change your mind!" So I watched the raw clip on YouTube. That Model S fire wasn't nearly as bad as ICE fires I have personally witnessed on the highways, with flames billowing out all the windows and the cars completely engulfed. I sent my friend Elon's letter. Lots of hysteria out there, but it's dying down, and the stock is recovering. I'll get my Model S in 2014 as planned.

I am waiting for my MS to be delivered next month. For me, the fire is actually good news. I don't care how it started, fact is the car recognized something was wrong, informed the driver, who pulled off, got out and walked away. During this time the car did not explode like an ICE could have. Granted there is a question about what really caused it to happen in the first place, but if you accept the word of the driver himself, he hit something, whatever it was.

The more I read about this amazing car, the happier I am for making the decision to buy it. Everything about my experience with Tesla has been outstanding so far. I've owned a variety of cars, including Lexus and BMW and have almost bought a Merc. One of the things I detest the most after a dentist's visit is going to an auto dealer, even if it is for a luxury car. You feel like you've landed in a shark tank. The contrast could not have been greater.

Pradeep

As soon as the next "Tesla's are a death trap" story hits the news and the stock drops I'm buying as much stock as I can afford.

There is a huge amount of misinformation out there about Tesla. Elon's response to the recent accident was excellent but it won't effect the people who refuse to accept the facts about the Model S.

I wish we could have a button , like the fake fire places to turn on a fake fire around the car so the idiots who think it is cool to "feel" my car when parked is normal.

I had a friend ask me if I was worried after the fire story. I repeated much of what I've read on this and the TMC forums:
In the U.S. alone, 1 ICE catches fire every 3 minutes (187,000 per year) and no one in a Model S has ever died in a crash (as best I know).

My friend said he had no idea how dangerous ICE cars were.

@Flyshacker
Check out the first word in this thread; perception. Even physicians are not immune to fallacious perception. We all have perceptions of our world based on our observations and experiences. When our perceptions based on observation are fallacious, we reach the wrong conclusions. Tesla is fighting the misperceptions that BEV's are not practical from the stand point of safety, range, and various measures of expense( tax breaks, CO2 footprint, acquisition costs relative to a...?Honda Civic). This conflict with new ideas is basic to human nature. In my own profession I have seen misperception based on mistaken causative observation, lead to disdain for a procedure that has ultimately proved to benefit tens of thousands of individuals. It took at least seven years for the procedure to be widely accepted. Glad you have chosen to ignore your doctor friend's advice. Tesla will win out because it's product does everything it says it will do, and much more! It will just take time and a little bit of persistence. Nothing that Tesla appears to be incapable of.

Most car fires are caused by poor maintenance or well intentioned do it yourselfers that really have no business owning tools. The smallest fire can spread rapidly because of all the fluids and flamable materials under a car hood. The heat becomes intense and the flames spread rapidly engulfing the enter vehicle. One car fire I attended got the licence plate so hot that when it fell off the bumper it created a mirror impression in the ashpalt.

As somebody posted eariler, there's a group of people that feel Tesla should solve all the driving issues, that's not realistic. Tesla has found and is working to provide drivers the best possible odds of surviving a collision to which I applaud them. Will somebody get killed is an MS, sadly most certainly but more importantly how many people will survive collisions which would have be unsurvivable in a typical ICEage vehicle? If it's a measurable statistic then somebody will figure it out, for me I believe that my family is safer then it ever has be on a highway or the city street. Good health.

While the number of ICE car fires per year is a powerful marketing statistics against unfair perceptions and unfair sensationalized journalism, it is a little bit misleading. The ICE car fleet is much older on average and older cars catch fire at a higher rate than newer. My guess is this rate will change much less with EV's than with ICE cars. Time will answer this. A more meaningful statistic today is deaths per miles driven. Given the Model S fleet has driven many millions of miles now, it should be statically relevant to compare Model S deaths to the entire same class car fleet. I believe statistically there should several deaths from accidents by now.

NHTSA's 2011 statistics indicate 1.10 fatalities for every 100 million vehicle miles. According to Tesla, Model S have accumulated over 100 million miles. So it's too soon to conclude that Model S has a lower fatality rate than the average vehicle in America.
http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx

We will never see this marketing slogan: "The popularity of the Tesla Model S is catching fire!"
Sorry for the sick humor. Couldn't resist.

I think it is perfectly reasonable for the fire to worry people and potential customers, it is perfectly reasonable for them to seek out information and clarification about the fire. I think any perfectly reasonable person who has the actual facts would recognise that this fire resulted from a freak event, the design features of the car were a net positive for the occupant of the car and such an event would have been as bad or potentially worse in a vehicle in which a thin metal walled tank containing 15 gallons of highly combustible fluid was the object which the large jagged piece of truck bumper pierced. Information is our friend on this one, the facts all point to the Tesla doing an admirable job of protecting the occupants against far worse harm.

It also can have the opposite reaction too. I've been hearing about Tesla through Vic Gundotra in Google+ but never made that extra step to check out the car features in the Tesla website. The recent news about fire had a blog statement by the Director himself which I thought worth checking out. That's when my world changed. I currently have a Subaru Liberty. My next car was going to be a Subaru too. After reading the blog post and checking out the website, I am now the biggest fan of the Model S. Just cannot wait till it spreads over here in Australia.

EVMD, When are you getting your car? What did you order?


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