February 14, 2014 / 7:09 PM / 5 years ago

Tesla says cause of Toronto garage fire not yet known

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O) said it has not yet determined how a Model S sedan parked in its owner’s garage in Toronto caught fire earlier this month.

The fire comes a month after Tesla revamped the software and the wall adapters used to charge the batteries in its cars, following a November garage fire involving a Model S in Irvine, California. The Model S involved in the Toronto fire was not being charged, according to a media report.

Tesla said it has “definitively determined” that the Toronto fire did not originate in the battery, the charging system, the adapter or the electrical receptacle, noting that these components were untouched by the fire.

“In this particular case, we don’t yet know the precise cause,” Tesla said in a statement.

The company would not provide further details about the incident.

The Business Insider blog, which first reported the Toronto fire on Thursday, said the Model S caught fire after the owner came home from a drive. The four-month-old car was not plugged into an electric socket, Business Insider said, citing an anonymous source.

Model S cars, which sell for roughly $70,000 to $90,000, are powered by lithium-ion batteries that are charged by plugging the car into an electrical outlet.

Seven Tesla employees visited the Toronto owner of the vehicle that caught fire, and the company offered to take care of the damages caused by the fire, according to the Business Insider report.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was aware of the fire in Canada.

“Since the incident occurred outside the territorial boundaries of the United States, the agency will be in contact with the manufacturer and others to gather the facts and take whatever action is warranted by the circumstances,” the NHTSA said in a statement.

News of three road fires last fall in Model S sedans, including two in the United States and one in Mexico, caused Tesla’s stock to drop sharply in October, although the stock’s price since then has risen to just above $200. The NHTSA is investigating the two U.S. fires.

Tesla’s stock was up 53 cents, or 0.3 percent, at $200.16 in mid-afternoon trading on Friday.

Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic in San Francisco and Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Jan Paschal

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