Tesla Will Send Customers an Upgraded Charging Adapter

By · January 12, 2014

Tesla Model S Charging

On Friday, Tesla Motors announced that it would upgrade the Model S charging adapter after reports of overheating in garages. The company will provide the new adapter to its customers for free in the next two weeks. The redesigned adapter will include a thermal fuse that shuts off charging if overheating is detected.

Bloomberg reported that there have been about a half-dozen incidents, posted to a Tesla-owner website, in which “Model S wall plugs melted or smoked while vehicles were recharging.”

In a press release, Tesla pointed to possible causes including a “variety of factors such as corrosion, physical damage to receptacles, or inappropriate wiring or installation of electrical outlets.” According to the company, this can cause higher than normal electrical resistance when using the Universal Mobile Connector (“UMC”) NEMA 14-50 adapters to charge Tesla Model S vehicles.

Tesla confirmed that in December it released an over-the-air software update to address this issue, enabling the Model S onboard charging system to automatically reduce the charging current by 25 percent if it detects unexpected fluctuations in the input power to the vehicle.

The company said the over-the-air software update “fully” addressed the issue, and that the improved adapter is not “required.” Yet, the company was taking the step to express its “commitment to full customer satisfaction.”

“These are very rare events, but occasionally the wiring isn’t done right,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk told Bloomberg. “We want people to have absolute comfort, so we’re going to be providing them with an upgraded adapter.”

Update Jan. 15: The National Highway Traffic Agency designated Tesla's steps to correct problems with overheating charging adapters as a "recall." Tesla executives objected to the term, claiming that its corrective measures were mostly a software update, although new replacement adapters equipped with an internal thermal fuse will be mailed to owners.

Comments

· · 35 weeks ago

Can't you guys find a picture that shows the actual charging system involved in this story? The picture you used (same as InsideEVs) shows the Tesla High Power Wall Connector, not the Tesla Mobile Connector that is involved in the adapter replacement action described in this story. This image from the Tesla Store is much better since it actually shows the adapters in question:
http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0001/5660/products/main_picture_1024x10...

· · 35 weeks ago

You should also update this story to state that this is officially a recall.

· · 35 weeks ago

@regman - Just added a quick update at the bottom of the article. Thanks.

· · 35 weeks ago

@Brad, Thanks for the update.

“Tesla executives objected to the term, claiming that its corrective measures were mostly a software update”

When is Musk going to get off his high horse and stop trying to say something isn’t what it is and this is not the first example. A recall is a recall is a recall. The remedy for a recall does not NOT make it a recall just because the vehicle doesn’t have to be brought in. There are numerous examples of recalls where an update to a manual is mailed to the customer, or a new safety label is mailed to a customer, or an accessory is provided to the customer without having to bring in the vehicle and none of the other OEMs complain that these aren’t real recalls. OEM’s even have to report and are on record for aftermarket accessory recalls although the responsibility ultimately falls to the aftermarket supplier. By stating in Tesla’s letter to NHTSA “Accordingly, pursuant to the requirements of 49 C.F.R. Part 573” www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/acms/cs/jaxrs/download/doc/UCM448668/RCDNN-14V006-9349.pdf, Tesla is admitting that this is a recall and is doing what is legally required for a recall of a defect identified by the OEM (i.e. a voluntary recall). If Musk wants to be considered a real auto manufacturer, he needs to stop acting like a whining baby.

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