The charger connectors, which tether Tesla-issued cables to wall outlets, will be mailed out in the next two weeks, Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said in an interview today.
“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.”
Tesla fell 2.6 percent to $143.72 at 12:20 p.m.
Tesla also upgraded the Model S firmware last month to prevent cars from drawing too much power from inadequate wiring.
At first blush, you might be thinking (as I had) that this is silly. My house is wired properly so I shouldn’t ever have issues like the person in California whose garage caught on fire after a short in the wiring in November.
But what if you go to a vacation rental or visit the family/relatives for a weekend. Can you be sure that the electrician that did their wiring was competent?
Good on Tesla for covering this; ‘Short sighted’ on investors for seeing this as a sign of weakness and not strength.
Update: Press release follows:
TESLA PROVIDES CUSTOMERS WITH UPGRADED CHARGING SOFTWARE AND ADAPTER
FRIDAY, JANUARY 10, 2014
PALO ALTO, Calif. – 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. 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.
Because this was an over-the-air update, customers can confirm receipt without having to bring their vehicles into a Tesla Service Center or other location by simply tapping on the 17” touchscreen and verifying that their Model S is running software version 5.8.4 or later. Any vehicle that is not within range of the wireless network or is not remotely accessible for any other reason can have the update installed through Tesla authorized Service Centers or Tesla Rangers.
Tesla believes that this software update fully addresses any potential risks. However, to provide another layer of assurance to Model S customers using the 14-50 socket, we have designed an improved wall adapter with a thermal fuse. 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. Although we do not believe the improved adapter is required to address the issue, we are taking this step as part of our commitment to full customer satisfaction. We will provide this upgraded adapter to existing and new customers free of charge starting in a few weeks.
In addition, Tesla has informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of these proactive measures.