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posted: 10/28/2013 5:58 PM

Tesla shares fall on reports of second fiery crash

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  • A Tesla Motors Inc. vehicle is displayed during the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Jan. 15, 2013. Tesla, the top-selling maker of premium electric cars, said a customer was unhurt in a crash and fire this month in Mexico in which a Model S struck a concrete barrier.

      A Tesla Motors Inc. vehicle is displayed during the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Jan. 15, 2013. Tesla, the top-selling maker of premium electric cars, said a customer was unhurt in a crash and fire this month in Mexico in which a Model S struck a concrete barrier.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS

 
Associated Press

DETROIT -- Tesla Motors shares dropped Monday after reports of a second fiery crash involving the company's Model S electric car.

On Oct. 17 in Merida, Mexico, a Model S sped into a roundabout, crashed through a concrete wall and hit a tree. The driver fled the scene before the car went up in flames. The U.S. automotive Web site Jalopnik reported the story Monday, citing the Mexican newspaper Progreso Hoy.

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Tesla responded that the Model S protected the driver despite the severe, high-speed crash.

"He is appreciative of the safety and performance of the car and has asked if we can expedite delivery of his next Model S," a Tesla spokeswoman said.

It was the second time this month that a Model S -- Tesla's only vehicle on the market right now -- was in a fiery crash. On Oct. 2, a Model S burned after hitting road debris in Kent, Wash.

In that case, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the fire started when a curved metal object punched a 3-inch hole through the armored plate that protects the battery. The car contained the blaze to one section of the battery, and the driver was able to get out before flames engulfed the front of the car.

Musk added that fires are much more common in vehicles with conventional gas engines.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said last week that it doesn't plan to investigate the Oct. 2 incident because there is no indication that it was caused by a safety defect or that the Model S is violating federal safety standards.

The agency doesn't investigate accidents outside the U.S., but does collect information on foreign crashes from automakers or from police in those locations.

Tesla shares fell 4 percent to close at $162.86. They have fallen 16 percent since the Oct. 2 crash.

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