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Tesla Issues Recall Due to Charging Concerns

Justin Chavez3 years ago

According to the New York Times, Tesla has issued a recall action concerning about 29,000 charging adapters due to a potential fire hazard. The automaker has informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in a letter sent to the agency over the weekend.

Details of the Tesla Recall

  • In the letter, Tesla said that the NEMA 14-50 adapters used for 240-volt recharging of the Model S may overheat, which “could cause problems including melted adapters and, in a worst-case scenario, fire.”
  • The adapter is used to connect the car's charging plug to a 240-volt household receptacle.
  • While the recall is listed for the Tesla Model S vehicles, Tesla said only the adapter needed work. The update is being done with an “over-the-air” software update, and there is no need for owners to bring their vehicles into the dealership.

Issues Leading up to the Recall

Since late 2012, about 2.7 percent of the adapters were being returned because they stopped charging. Tesla did not consider these failures to be a safety problem because damage was contained within the adapter, and the damage caused by overheating condition stopped the flow of electricity.

By late 2013, Tesla told the agency that it had learned of several cases where there was damage outside the adapter including a highly publicized garage fire in Irvine, California.

Tesla's initial analysis demonstrated that defective or improperly installed wall receptacles that the NEMA 14-50 adapter plugged into could  have caused problems, including melted adapters as well as fires.

The number of incidents remains small, and Tesla's review to date points to the building's receptacle or faulty wiring as the primary cause of failed NEMA 14-50 adapters. The company claims to have issued the voluntary recall as a precautionary measure.

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