Tesla plans new adapter due to overheating

PALO ALTO, Calif. — Tesla Motors said it will offer Model S customers new adapters to assuage safety concerns of overheating.

The electric auto maker said Friday that corrosion, faulty wiring of an electrical outlet and other issues could cause an existing adapter to overheat while the vehicle is charging.

There had been multiple consumer complaints to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration of smoke or fire while the car was plugged into the adapter for charging.

Tesla already provided a software update in December to address the problem. The new software is designed to reduce the charge current by 25 percent if it senses conditions that could lead to overheating. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company says it does not believe the new adapter is necessary, but is providing as another layer of assurance to customers. The improved wall adapter, available in a few weeks, has a thermal fuse to prevent current from flowing to the device if an electrical socket heats up.

The NSHTA could not be reached immediately for comment. Tesla did not return a request for more information on incidents related to the adapter.

Tesla is also under increased scrutiny for safety following several battery-related fires last year.

No one was hurt in the fires, which began in the batteries and happened along freeways near Seattle and Nashville, Tenn. In the Seattle case, the Model S hit a curved truck part. The car hit a trailer hitch in the Tennessee crash. Another fire happened in Mexico after the driver ran through a concrete wall at more than 100 miles per hour.

The company and its owner, Elon Musk, have stood by the safety of the vehicles.

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