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Tesla to install shields to prevent car fires

After striking some metal debris, a Tesla owner pulled over and escaped before the vehicle burst into flames.

DETROIT - Electric car maker Tesla Motors (TSLA) says it will install additional shielding to prevent roadway debris from damaging batteries and possibly causing a fire.

The company says it will retrofit the Model S with an aluminum bar, a titanium plate and another piece of aluminum. The shields are designed to ward off the type of debris that caused fires in two cars last year.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating after the fires were reported. It was unclear what impact the shields will have on the probe. Tesla says the action is not a recall.

CEO Elon Musk says the Model S already has a high level of safety. He says the shields make the car even safer.

Tesla has sold about 22,000 Model S cars in the U.S.