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Tesla Model S Software Update Reduces Fire Risk

January 13, 2014

Tesla Model S Signature. Photo: Tesla Motors.
Tesla Model S Signature. Photo: Tesla Motors.

Tesla Motors Inc. is offering a software update for 29,222 2013 model-year Model S electric vehicles equipped with certain NEMA 14-50 (240 volt) Universal Mobile Connector (UMC) adapters.

During vehicle charging, the adapter, cord or wall outlet could overheat and pose a fire risk, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported. Tesla will provide an over-the-air software update to remedy the problem. Additionally, Tesla will mail affected Model S owners a replacement NEMA 14-50 adapter that’s equipped with an internal thermal fuse. 

Some vehicle owners have already received the software update, which allows the Model S onboard charging system to detect unexpected fluctuations in the input power or higher resistance connections to the vehicle. If these conditions are detected, the onboard charging system will automatically reduce the charging current by 25 percent.

“This fully addresses the issue by substantially reducing the heat generated in any high resistance connections outside the vehicle,” Tesla said in a released statement. “This update increases robustness and safety considerably in the unlikely event that a home wiring system, receptacle, adapter or cord is unable to meet its rated current capacity.”

To make sure they’ve received the updated software (version 5.8.4), Tesla Model S owners can check the vehicle’s center information screen.

Vehicle owners can reach Tesla at (877) 798-3752.

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  1. 1. Omar Sultan [ January 13, 2014 @ 09:23PM ]

    I was wondering if its possible to get a more misleading and incorrect headline. The cars are not being recalled. There has been one reported incident of a garage fire that involved a Tesla that was charging. The FIRE DEPARTMENT could not determine if the fire was caused by a problem with the universal charger or with the house wiring. In response, Tesla did two things: 1) issued an over-the-air software update that detects voltage fluctuations that could indicate a wiring issue and reduces charging voltage by 25% and 2) is shipping out an updated NEMA 14-50 adaptor with an thermal fuse. Neither the potential problem or the actions Tesla is taking has nothing to do with the car.


  2. 2. RedShift [ January 13, 2014 @ 09:35PM ]

    Cars are NOT being recalled. What's the agenda with such an erroneous headline? You guys hate Tesla?

    They have shipped new plug adapters with thermal fuses in them. That's right, shipped. No need to even take the car in.

  3. 3. Tim [ January 13, 2014 @ 10:14PM ]

    Wow. Now that is a misleading headline!

    Tesla is sending out a replacement adapter that will protect from fire caused by any voltage irregularities from the circuit (outlet, wire to circuit breaker, circuit breaker, etc..) itself. It has nothing to do with the vehicle. Most owners have already received the software update that decreases the charge amperage if irregularities are detect.

    Again, this was done out of abundance of caution to prevent issues stemming from faulty wiring on the outlet side of the feed. It is not on the car side of the equation.

    Check your facts, and maybe update your headline if you care to maintain any integrity.

  4. 4. Sam [ January 13, 2014 @ 10:45PM ]

    This is plainly falsehood and legally actionable. I suggest you correct this malicious headline if you want to avoid legal consequence.

  5. 5. RobS [ January 14, 2014 @ 02:00AM ]

    Good work guys, apparently blatant lies are acceptable journalism at automotive fleet. They are sending out updated charging dongles at $50 a pop, not a single car has been recalled for any modification whatsoever.

  6. 6. Scott Jenkins [ January 14, 2014 @ 04:59AM ]

    As stated by others here, there is NO RECALL of the cars themselves, only a small adapter that some use to charge their vehicles because of one isolated incident that has already been addressed in a software update. Irresponsible journalism, sorry I even clicked on this one.

  7. 7. AmpedRealtor [ January 14, 2014 @ 08:03AM ]


    What has happened to journalistic standards of integrity? A garage fire occurred in November where the homeowner had faulty wiring. As an incredible response to a single incident, Tesla updated its vehicle's charging software to spot irregularities with the customer's wiring and is now providing, free of charge, adapters which contain thermal fuses to add an additional layer of protection.

    I hope that Tesla's legal department sends you a cease and desist, and I further hope that you are sued for your misleading and slanderous article.

  8. 8. Respect the power of the [ January 14, 2014 @ 10:05AM ]

    Whatever it takes to get a click...
    SAD state of journalism.

  9. 9. Bill [ January 14, 2014 @ 10:43AM ]

    The previous comments are a bunch of slanderous lies by a bunch of Tesla bullies. Such uncivilized behavior is another reason not to buy a Tesla. The Tesla is a fire trap. The Tesla adapters and other Tesla connectors have a history of melting and burning. These unsafe Tesla issues, need to be resolved. Customers have even been injured by these defects. It is a fire hazard.

    Here is a link to the recall notice.

  10. 10. Bill [ January 14, 2014 @ 11:05AM ]

    Such crazy comments from the haters. What a bunch of idiotic bullies. Such uncivilized behavior is another reason not to buy a Tesla. The Tesla is a fire trap. The Tesla adapters and other connectors have a history of melting and burning. These unsafe Tesla issues, need to be resolved. Customers have even been injured by these defects. It is a fire hazard. The Tesla chargers and the related adapters are part of the car.

  11. 11. Chuck [ January 14, 2014 @ 12:59PM ]

    Bill, the NHTSA notice does not say any thing about have to recall the car, just that a new adaptor will be mailed to customers.

  12. 12. Tom [ January 14, 2014 @ 03:27PM ]

    Wow. Anything for a click, indeed. This site is disgusting for calling one of the software upgrades a recall of all Model S's. And Bill, whoever he is, is either ignorant or dishonest.

  13. 13. RobS [ January 14, 2014 @ 04:26PM ]

    Thank you Automotive fleet for changing the headline to a far more accurate and honest one, IT seems that journalistic integirty is still alive and well in some places, great to see.
    Bill on the other hand has no integrity, there is no vehicle recall, the NHTSA simply has no other term for an intervention. Tesla is voluntarily sending all owners an updated 15/40 dongle which retails for $45 and probably costs Tesla ~$30. This is to solve the problem of under spec or old wiring in people's homes. No Tesla charger has ever caught fire however some power points have smoldered due to insufficient capacity for the current being drawn, the hardware and software update will negate this risk. The fact that Tesla is voluntarily fixing a problem with people's wiring for which they are not responsible is a testament to their customer service.

  14. 14. Sue [ January 15, 2014 @ 08:00AM ]

    It is a recall. It's sad that so many people are so poorly educated that they don't know what a recall is. Many Tesla adapters and connectors have burned and melted. It's a serious safety hazard. The Tesla is a fire trap. It's worse than the Pinto. The software update did not solve the problems, because there are hardware safety hazards. That's why the adapters are being replaced. Replacing the adapters may not be sufficient, because there appears to be other hardware safety hazards. Several people have been injured by the overheating Tesla charge connections. Greedy haters will say almost anything to try to take the blame off of Tesla.

  15. 15. Jessie [ January 15, 2014 @ 11:30AM ]

    How come Tesla drivers are such jerks, speeding, driving recklessly, cutting people off, road rage, hogging multiple parking spaces, illegally using handicapped parking? How come they have no regard for Free Press, freedom of speech, and public safety? On the Internet and the road they are so uncivilized. They are haters.


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