Teslas are less than a year old and they've made less than 20,000 of these cars in all (wikipedia). Unless somebody can show me gasoline engine cars catch fire at a higher than 1/20,000 rate in their first year of service, this is a serious issue deserving serious attention.
the combustion potential of that bettery is a fraction of what you would find in a typical gasoline fueled vehicle. Sure, there's a possibility of it catching fire, and that is life threatening, but there's the same risk with your typical gas powere vehicle.
The video of the Tesla Model S fire accident is pretty scary. Though it is being justified as being caused by the battery getting damaged by hitting into something and this could be a rare incident, but it is dangerous and could be life threatening. I am sure a detailed investigation would reveal the real reason and something will be done to prevent it, but I guess more research is need in knowing all possible failure modes of of Li-ion battery. Also I learned that the fire from Li-ion batteries is not controlled easily...another area for more research, which I guess is already going on.
As we unveil EE Times’ 2015 Silicon 60 list, journalist & Silicon 60 researcher Peter Clarke hosts a conversation on startups in the electronics industry. Panelists Dan Armbrust (investment firm Silicon Catalyst), Andrew Kau (venture capital firm Walden International), and Stan Boland (successful serial entrepreneur, former CEO of Neul, Icera) join in the live debate.