Tesla Recalls 29,000 Model S Chargers Over Fire Concerns

The NEMA 14-50 adapters could overheat while charging, potentially leading to the melting of the adapter, cord, and socket--or "in a worst-case scenario, fire."

Tesla is recalling 29,000 Model S charging adapters over concerns about potential fire hazards. In a letter sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the company noted its NEMA 14-50 adapters could overheat while charging, potentially leading to the melting of the adapter, cord, and socket--or "in a worst-case scenario, fire."

Tesla's solution to the voluntary recall is an over-the-air software update that will reduce heat generated in high-resistance connections. The company says the issue affects less than 3% of its chargers. With the update, the onboard charging system will be able to detect unexpected fluctuations in input power and respond by reducing the charging current by 25%. Though Tesla says the update will fully address the issue, it is also engineering a new adapter plug with a thermal fuse to improve reliability. The chargers will be mailed to customers for free when they become available.

Jerome Guillen, Tesla sales vice president, said 99% of Model S adapters already received the software update, which was released last month. “This is one of the safest, if not the safest, cars on the road,” he said, noting Model S cars have been driven 168 million miles.

Three high-profile fires involving the Model S occurred in the fall, but CEO Elon Musk asserts that the risk of fire in a gas-powered car is five times greater than with Tesla's electric cars.

[Image: Flickr user jecoopr]

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  • They are sending out new ones, not necessarily recalling the current chargers. See Elon Musks twitter account. It's big, bold headlines like this that hurt tesla and slow the change to an eviromentally friendly alternative to internal combustion and big oil.