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Tesla's On Fire Again

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On: Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 2:39PM | By: Karen Cook

Tesla's On Fire Again

Tesla’s on fire again! And not in the positive way. Poor Tesla. Almost on the heels of Model S engine fires and then a fire at a factory, Tesla is now recalling 29,222 vehicle chargers for the 2013 Model S because they may overheat and catch fire.

It happened several months ago in Orange County, California, and caused the homeowner $25,000 in damage. Tesla denied that its charger was responsible for the fire. Even though Tesla was aware of this issue no recall was initiated due to the fact that only about 2.7 percent of the chargers may be defective and there have been no injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decided the probability was great enough to issue the recall on the 240-volt NEMA 14-50 Universal Mobile Connector which it said in a bulletin could overheat and catch fire if it is defective or installed improperly.

Tesla will notify Model S owners by mail and will send a new charging adaptor, which has been equipped with a thermal fuse to automatically reduce the charging current by 25% if the unit detects a spike in the current and eliminate the risk of fire. Once installed, the on-board computer will download an update to the charging system.

Tesla maintains that the charging system is not defective, does not cause fires, and, in a written statement from the company, that "although we do not believe the improved adapter is required to address the issue, we are taking this step as part of our commitment to full customer satisfaction." It is an expensive fix to a problem viewed by the public as dangerous, and Tesla hopes to boost the confidence of its customers with this response.

Report Receipt Date: JAN 13, 2014
NHTSA Campaign Number: 14V006000
Component(s): EQUIPMENT
Potential Number of Units Affected: 29,222
All Products Associated with this Recall

Manufacturer: Tesla Motors, Inc.

Tesla Motors, Inc. (Tesla) is recalling certain model year 2013 Model S vehicles equipped for, and delivered with, certain NEMA 14-50 (240 volt) Universal Mobile Connector (UMC) adapters. During charging, the adapter, cord, or wall outlet could overheat.

An overheated adapter, cord, or wall receptacle, increases the risk of burn injury and/or fire.

Tesla will notify owners and provide an "over-the-air" software update. Some owners have already received this update. This update allows the Model S on board charging system to detect any unexpected fluctuations in the input power or higher resistance connections to the vehicle. If detected, the onboard charging system will automatically reduce the charging current by 25%. Tesla owners can verify that they have received the updated software (version 5.8.4 or later) by viewing the vehicle's center information screen. Additionally, Tesla will mail owners a replacement NEMA 14-50 adapter that is equipped with an internal thermal fuse. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Tesla Service Center at 1-877-79-TESLA (1-877-798-3752).

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.


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