Tesla Motors just announced a recall of 29,000 NEMA 14-50 charging adapters for its Model S car, citing concerns that the adapters could overheat while plugged in – affected chargers could melt or even burst into flames. Luckily, only about 3% of the chargers on the market are affected by this problem.
Image © Falk Lademann
Tesla has known about the overheating issue for some time and released a software update last month that was supposed to reduce the heat generated by the high-resistance connections. However, the fact that these failed chargers could be potentially dangerous apparently only came to light in recent days. The update works by using the onboard charging system to compensate for unexpected fluctuations in input power that could potentially cause overheating. In addition to the software update, Tesla is working on engineering a new adapter plug that includes a thermal fuse to improve reliability — which the company plans to distribute to customers by mail, for free, when they become available.
This isn’t the first time Tesla’s cars have been in the news for catching fire. Last fall, three Model S vehicles went up in flames over the course of just six weeks. The company maintains that the vehicles are safe and that gas-powered cars are at a five-times greater risk of fires than electric cars. The Tesla Model S has received the highest safety scores of any car ever tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, so owners of the vehicles shouldn’t panic in light of the recall.
Via Fast Company
Lead image © Jeff Cooper