I think Elon is the type of guy who may be too smart for his own good. In his mind he has produced the perfect car and that any negatives brought to light need to be rebutted in a war like manner. A perfect example is how he handled his response to Broder's NY Times review of the Model S . It was tantrum like . It will be interesting to see if his ego allows him to admit that the first incident was not a fluke and we have a problem that needs to be fixed. My guess is that he will come up with another wordy explanation to justify that all is ok. If he does not get out ahead of this very quickly , the general population will equate Tesla with Car fires because those are the images now being blasted across the media at all levels. The headlines read "Tesla had three care fires in five weeks ". Most people just read headlines. So even if Elon comes up with some justification backed up with facts and figures to explain away this third fire it will only play to the enthusiasts not the general public . By the way these fires do not play into the short thesis it is only speeds up the eventual peril that this company faces.
He can`t go on that like that forever. You can only spin something like this for so long before it backfires (p-p-pun). It is now obvious that specific kinds of impacts (which can occur relatively frequently) result in a high probability of fire. And not just small fires, but quite ferocious.
The ego too smart for his own good thing could be the thing. His write up on the first fire was obviously pointed to spin instead of really trying to address the issue. And you know he knew that. His description of the accident in Mexico was downright misleading.
To do what he does, and does well, you need the smarts of a scientist and the weasleness of a politician (that also requires a certain kind of smarts). He has been using his weasleness over the fires, hoping it doesn`t go any further. But you know the scientist in him is screaming inside, going got dam fkhang hello...he knows exactly what the real problem is and has from the first incident. He was hoping against hope it wouldn`t continue. If you are a politician looking for blew jobs in an airport bathroom, then it takes a dentist to pry out the truth, but eventually you have no choice, the truth has to come out...tiger woods knows....
He also knows that adding an additional 500 pounds in the form of a steel shield would effect the performance and range of the already heavy car. I think we get another wordy explanation filed with twisted statistics to explain this away. His ego is to big and he needs to school us mere mortals.