Tesla to upgrade wall adapters after reports of garage fires

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WASHINGTON (Bloomberg) -- Tesla Motors Inc., which is under investigation by U.S. regulators over fires in its Model S sedan after battery punctures, will upgrade wall charger adapters following reports of overheating in garages.

The charger connectors, which connect Tesla-issued cables with wall outlets, will be mailed out in the next two weeks, CEO 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.”

A software update sent out to customers last month to deal with the same issue should already be helping to provide an extra margin of safety, Musk said. The redesigned plug adapter is another step to ensure any overheating won’t lead to fires, he said.

The redesigned adapter will include a thermal fuse designed to shut off charging if overheating is detected, Musk said.

Tesla said its Model S and charging system didn’t cause a fire in a Southern California garage last month. While there was a fire at the wall socket where the vehicle was plugged in, the car itself wasn’t burned, the company said in e-mailed comments.

Investigators couldn’t conclude whether the fire started in the wall socket or was caused by the charger, and found it had nothing to do with the battery, the Orange County Fire Authority said last month.

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