Some people probably heard the news of a Tesla Motors recall and immediately jumped on the “electric vehicles are unsafe” bandwagon, but the truth is much easier to swallow.
Announced on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website, 29,222 Tesla Model S 240V charging adapters have been recalled due to a possibility of fire. First, the recall does not affect the Tesla Model S itself, but the NEMA 14-50 charging adapter that you enables you to plug the Tesla Model S Cable into the 50 A wall recptacle. Recently, NHTSA has noted a number of complaints of overheating, smoke, and fire, related to this adapter. It is important to note that the vehicle itself, including onboard charging system and the lithium-ion battery pack, have not been involved in any of these incidents.
One recent example of this, which occurred a few weeks ago, a garage fire, involving a Tesla Model S. Investigation hasn’t been conclusive, but it appears to be a fault in the house wiring and the charging adapter that was feeding the Tesla Model S. Tesla Motors has already released an over-the-air (OTA) software update for the Tesla Model S onboard charging system to address the overheating problem. The software update will reduce charging draw by 25% in the case of any fluctuations in voltage or current coming from the house circuit.
Aside from the OTA software update, Tesla Motors will also be mailing a replacement charging adapter, which contains a thermal fuse. In future occurrences of overheating, in case the software’s 25% drop can’t handle the problem, the thermal fuse will stop charging altogether. For Tesla Model S owners, the OTA update and “it’s-in-the-mail” replacement part ought to be pretty painless, as far as recalls go. Owners won’t have to visit a service center or change their daily driving and charging habits.
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