Today Tesla Motors said in addition to updated software to prevent house wiring from overheating under certain conditions, it will be issuing at no cost improved home charger wall adapters equipped with thermal fuses to trip in the event of overheating.
Tesla does not say so in its press announcement, but there have been reports of melted sockets and smoke, but as Tesla does point out, it may not be its fault.
“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 (“UMC”) NEMA 14-50 adapters to charge Tesla Model S vehicles,” says the company in its statement.
Tesla says the thermally protected wall adaptors may essentially be over-and-above what is necessary, as it already issued software version, 5.8.4.
This software issued over the air last month enables the Model S charging system to automatically reduce current by 25 percent if unexpected fluctuations in the input power to the vehicle are detected.
“This fully addresses the issue by substantially reducing the heat generated in any high resistance connections outside the vehicle,” says Tesla. “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.”
However, despite the company saying twice in its statement it “believes that this software update fully addresses any potential risks” it is offering another “layer of assurance” particularly for customers using the NEMA 14-50 adapter.
“Even if the circuit breakers on the house side and car side don’t trip, the thermal fuse will prevent current from flowing if the wall socket region heats up for any reason,” says the company.
In unrelated news, neither Tesla nor the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) have made any announcements on an ongoing investigation into two Model S fires.
To be sure, eyes are on electric cars as a new type of vehicle requiring new precautions.
Meanwhile, Tesla is taking precautions of its own, and said “Tesla has informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of these proactive measures.”
Owners unsure whether they have the latest software may simply tap on their 17-inch touchscreen to check whether their car is running software version 5.8.4 or later