Tesla Motors, already dealing with a public relations issue related to some of its Model S electric sedans catching fire last year, now has another hot under the collar technology problem to deal with that this time is centered around some of its in-home wall chargers. This new problem reportedly has led to some severe overheating, among other concerns.
The electric vehicle company, looking to head off potential large scale concerns around this new issue, is being proactive in dealing with it in much the same way it openly addressed battery fire concerns currently under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The first step it took was to admit to the problem that occurs during charging when “higher than normal electrical resistance connections to external energy sources may cause excessive heating of the adapter.”
Tesla next has taken a two part strategy to addressing this concern, the first of which was an over-the-air software update released last month which enables
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.
The company additionally said it has “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.” This new adapter will be provided to existing and new customers free of charge in a few weeks.
Responses like this will continue to help Tesla keep a positive image with its customer base, there’s no doubt.