Tesla Motors is taking steps to prevent overheating of its charging systems, including giving customers upgraded wall charger adapters.
The redesigned wall charger adapter will include a thermal fuse designed to shut off charging if overheating is detected.
The charger connectors, which connect Tesla-issued cables with wall outlets, will be mailed out in the next two weeks, said CEO Elon Musk.
“These are very rare events, but occasionally the wiring isn’t done right,” Musk said. “We want people to have absolute comfort, so we’re going to be providing them with an upgraded adapter.”
A variety of factors such as corrosion, physical damage to receptacles, or inappropriate wiring or installation of electrical outlets can cause higher than normal electrical resistance when using the Universal Mobile Connector NEMA 14-50 adapters to charge Tesla Model S vehicles.
When charging, higher than normal electrical resistance connections to external energy sources may cause excessive heating of the adapter. In December 2013, Tesla 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.
This fully addresses the issue by substantially reducing the heat generated in any high resistance connections outside the vehicle. 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.
Tesla said its Model S and charging system didn’t cause a fire in a Southern California garage last month. While there was a fire at the wall socket where the vehicle was plugged in, the car itself wasn’t burned.