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Tesla Wall ChargerTesla's big wall charger adapter replacement program is about to get a lot bigger. For one thing, the replacement has become an official recall. Secondly, the number of affected adapters is higher than expected: 29,222 units.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration officially announced the recall today. Tesla says that the problem lies in "certain NEMA 14-50 (240 volt) Universal Mobile Connector (UMC) adapters" and that the problem is that the adapter, cord, or wall outlet can overheat during charging. This possibility came to light in a garage fire in California in November and has resulted in some melted adapters since then.

As we know, step one in solving this problem was an over-the-air software update (version 5.8.4 or later) that would shut off charging if things got too hot in November. Then, late last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said his company would send out the replacement wall adapters that has thermal fuses built in. We wondered at the time if this would lead to an official recall, since the charging unit is not, technically, part of the car. It has, even though at the Detroit Auto Show today, Tesla representatives testily said that the even if NHTSA calls it a recall, Tesla just calls it modern technology (Update: and now Elon Musk is chiming in on Twitter). You can read the entire recall notice below and find more details in in the letters between Tesla and NHTSA in this gallery. Tesla says just 2.7 percent of its UMC adapters had been returned because they were defective.



Tesla has had recalls before, bringing the Roadster in for auxiliary cable issues and the first for the Model S because of seat latch problems. This new recall doesn't mean that Tesla has sold 29,000 Model S EVs – people could have purchased one for home and work, or not bought one at all – but it does imply that the number of Model S units sold is inching close to the 30,000 milestone. We should know more when the company releases Q4 2013 information next month.
Show full PR text
Report Receipt Date: JAN 13, 2014

NHTSA Campaign Number: 14V006000

Component(s): EQUIPMENT

Potential Number of Units Affected: 29,222

All Products Associated with this Recall

Manufacturer: Tesla Motors, Inc.

SUMMARY:

Tesla Motors, Inc. (Tesla) is recalling certain model year 2013 Model S vehicles equipped for, and delivered with, certain NEMA 14-50 (240 volt) Universal Mobile Connector (UMC) adapters. During charging, the adapter, cord, or wall outlet could overheat.

CONSEQUENCE:

An overheated adapter, cord, or wall receptacle, increases the risk of burn injury and/or fire.

REMEDY:

Tesla will notify owners and provide an "over-the-air" software update. Some owners have already received this update. This update allows the Model S on board charging system to detect any unexpected fluctuations in the input power or higher resistance connections to the vehicle. If detected, the onboard charging system will automatically reduce the charging current by 25%. Tesla owners can verify that they have received the updated software (version 5.8.4 or later) by viewing the vehicle's center information screen. Additionally, Tesla will mail owners a replacement NEMA 14-50 adapter that is equipped with an internal thermal fuse. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Tesla Service Center at 1-877-79-TESLA (1-877-798-3752).

NOTES:

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 110 Comments
      jeff
      • 1 Year Ago
      This has NOTHING to do with the wall chargers. Your article needs to be changed. It is a replacement for the snap on adapters on the mobile charger. Your article is very flawed and needs to be changed.
      Joeviocoe
      • 1 Year Ago
      http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/acms/cs/jaxrs/download/doc/UCM448668/RCDNN-14V006-9349.pdf
        DarylMc
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        Thanks for the link. It explains the matter much more clearly than the two AutoBlog articles.
      Mario Duran
      • 1 Year Ago
      Actually Tesla just announced it delivered 6,950 units in 4Q 2013. Adding up all official reports, a total of 25,100 Model S cars have been sold since June 2012 through December 2013. Clearly, a lot of folks indeed bought a second charger (one at home one at work?)
        Cayman
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mario Duran
        Yeah, that seems odd. This may be a stupid question, but are these chargers compatible with the roadster? I'm surprised that many people would order multiple chargers.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Cayman
          The article couldn't have been more clear that it is the adapter that is the problem, and that the adapter is what is being replaced. "... wall charger adapter replacement program..." "...the number of affected adapters is..." "...the problem lies in "certain NEMA 14-50 (240 volt) Universal Mobile Connector (UMC) adapters" "... the problem is that the adapter, cord, or wall outlet can overheat..." "...resulted in some melted adapters..." "...send out the replacement wall adapters..." "... 2.7 percent of its UMC adapters had been returned because they were defective." They only mentioned it *seven* times.
        Grendal
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mario Duran
        Are you sure you are including all the foreign deliveries in your number? Or is it just the US deliveries.
          GoodCheer
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Grendal
          NEMA 14-50 is pretty much only a N. American thing. European cars might well have gotten an adapter, but it would be a different one.
      purrpullberra
      • 1 Year Ago
      Grendal: great points. I think its not surprising that Tesla/Elton are being aggressive in the way they announce the particulars of this situation. "Recall" does have negative connotations and Tesla are acting normally when trying to put the potential danger in appropriate context. I think it's safe to say that Tesla are trying to stay 'ahead of the story'. And so far it looks like the story is the same as before and is, as I put it "a situation where Tesla are making a safe product safer.". It isn't blamed in many injuries even if we count every single incident of melting and over-heating. But I do wonder when does NHTSA have authority or the consumer product safety commission, this isn't strictly speaking an issue with the car? Not that I have an issue with what has happened so far. I'm still very proud of Tesla and how they act and the product they make. As a shareholder I approve of Elon's/Tesla's actions.
      DarylMc
      • 1 Year Ago
      What a misleading article. I was a bit misled by the previous article about this. The headline of this one is even worse. It is a plug adapter for the portable charger not the wall charger. Mailing a new one to customers is hardly a recall in my opinion either.
      Joeviocoe
      • 1 Year Ago
      The reason Elon Musk is being "smug": Because so many opponents (waiting to see Tesla Fail, or have shorted TSLA stock)... will now launch a smear campaign using the word "RECALL" to strike fear into the hearts of everyone. Elon has to balance this out by challenging the very definition of "recall". We USED TO understand the word "recall", as a product that would be "taken back by the manufacturer" to be replaced. But now that word is thrown around haphazardly. Tesla is NOT taking back the "NEMA 14-50 (240 volt) Universal Mobile Connector (UMC) adapters"... but supplying a safer upgrade... with no requirement to send back, or stop using the old one.
        Luke
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        Joe, you're splitting hairs. I had a safety recall on an electronic device once. The cord could short out and melt. I was sent a new cord. I didn't have to send the old one back (it would've been cost prohibitive and rather pointless), so I threw it away. It was still a recall.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Luke
          Thinking "all recalls are the same" is why I am (and Elon is) splitting hairs. And there are LOTS of people who do not understand that a "recall" can be very minor. And just assume the worst. We should split this "hair" into another term.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Luke
          Tesla could have issued a TSB. Automakers tend to use those for quick fixes that aren't vital.
        Cayman
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        Yeah, you're not being paranoid. Nobody is going to launch a "smear campaign". There maybe a few commenters here and there that poke fun, but nobody that matters will put any merit into it. Most people that invest realize that recalls are par for the course for cars. It happens, it's not a big deal. Coming out and getting into a semantics argument about whether or not this is a recall just draws more attention to an issue that really nobody is going to care about (beyond the cost of the recall itself).
          purrpullberra
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Cayman
          Cayman: you are insane if you think that there aren't TONS of financial bloggers, 'reporter' and websites that publish ridiculously negative articles about every single thing Tesla does. Give it a day or two and you can see dozens of them. Elon is simply making sure that there is an emphatic response from Tesla that puts things into context so the less divisive articles can quote him. Have you not been paying attention for the last few years?!?
          Cayman
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Cayman
          Tell me one financial website that is stating this recall is a huge issue for Tesla. I read a few non-religiously and I haven't seen an article stating this is a big deal. You'd have to search long and hard to find a find a credible analyst who thinks this is a major problem for Tesla and it's stock. Tesla is a highly shorted stock because the price right now is pretty high based on it's sales so far. It's price is based on potential (which most agree is very high). But to think there is some conspiracy where those that short are going to make a big deal about a minor recall and seriously effect the price of the stock is entering paranoid territory. Investors understand that recalls happen. When I buy a new car I fully expect that at some point there will be a recall of some sort. Investors aren't the complete idiots you make them out to be.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        joeevicoe: There are myriad recalls each year which don't involve the manufacturer taking anything back. Chrysler was told to recall their vehicles because of rear end collision fires and that hasn't been done yet, and vehicles have not been removed from service. The problem here isn't with the word, or the press release, it's with you, Musk and others who are making a bigger deal out of this than it is. Stop acting like everyone who says something you don't like is smearing Tesla. And if you're so involved in TSLA that you legitimately suffer significant harm from a stock drop, stop taking it out on others and fix your overexposure.
      JakeY
      • 1 Year Ago
      Just to clarify, Tesla is sending out this 14-50 "adapter" (it's a small socket that attaches the end of the plug of the full mobile EVSE/charging adapter): http://shop.teslamotors.com/collections/model-s/products/nema-14-50 They are NOT recalling "wall chargers" as this article is saying and picturing (the Tesla wall charger is completely unrelated to this), so Autoblog should make a correction. Again, they are not replacing the pictured wall charger, nor the entire mobile "charging adapter", nor are they saying the existing socket adapter(s) or EVSE is unsafe to use (notice the "recall" does not tell users to stop using the product), but rather that the updated socket with added thermal fuse is safer.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @JakeY
        They don't say to discontinue use because the software patch is going out and mandatory. The software patch is apparently considered sufficient fix for the problem. That doesn't quite mean that the old adapter wasn't problematic, just that it won't be now even if you don't discontinue use.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          "Standard recall notices would tell users to stop using the product until the remedy is applied..." No, they don't. The GM recall - 300k trucks, doesn't tell users to stop using truck. http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchResults?searchType=ID&targetCategory=R&searchCriteria.nhtsa_ids=14V007000 Zero Motors recall - 667 motorcycles that might just suffer sudden power loss, doesn't tell users to stop riding http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchResults?searchType=ID&targetCategory=R&searchCriteria.nhtsa_ids=13V635000 Acura RLX recall - steering ability might be reduced, no mention of telling users to stop driving http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchResults?searchType=ID&targetCategory=R&searchCriteria.nhtsa_ids=13V622000 Feel free to peruse the recall list... http://www.nhtsa.gov/Vehicle+Safety/Recalls+&+Defects
          Grendal
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          There was definitely something wrong with some of the old adapters. Most seem to work just fine with no issues at all and a small segment seem to have an overheating problem. Did any of your friends who own one have the problem?
          JakeY
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          Standard recall notices would tell users to stop using the product until the remedy is applied (in this case either until the software update is applied or socket adapter is replaced) because of safety concerns. The "recall" notice in this case does not mention this at all. But besides from this point, the article is extremely misleading as people are getting the impression they are replacing the whole EVSE, particularly the stationary/installed wall charger: http://shop.teslamotors.com/collections/model-s-charging-adapters/products/high-power-wall-connector
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          Grendal: Yes, some had replacement adapters due to melting. Nothing serious though, no smoke, no burned appendages. The very early owners had problems with the J1772 adapter too, because apparently the first one was made by machining plastic (yep!) and it didn't fit all that well (or too well if you like to say that, because the problem was when it heated up it wouldn't detach from the J1772 probe). The later J1772 adapters are injection molded and seem to be fine. JakeY: No they wouldn't. Even Chrysler who is under a NHTSA order for fires by rear end collision doesn't have a "discontinue use" order. Discontinue use orders are very rare. They are associated with loss of control problems (suspension issues, stuck throttles, etc.). Why do you are if anyone thinks the whole EVSE is being replaced anyway? Unless you are an owner this means nothing to you. I mean, yeah, it's wrong, but it doesn't seem worth getting indignant over.
        ElectricAvenue
        • 1 Year Ago
        @JakeY
        Who the heck downrated JakeY's comment? It's incredibly misleading that Autoblog has a picture of a wall charger and says that Tesla is recalling wall chargers. They simply aren't. It's false. Wrong. Incorrect. Factually inaccurate. JakeY provided a link to the actual item being recalled. And for pointing this out he's voted down?
        JakeY
        • 1 Year Ago
        @JakeY
        Just in case it is not clear, the Tesla "wall charger" is a completely different product unrelated to this recall: http://shop.teslamotors.com/collections/model-s-charging-adapters/products/high-power-wall-connector The "Mobile Connector" EVSE that is mentioned in this recall is this one: http://shop.teslamotors.com/collections/model-s-charging-adapters/products/model-s-mobile-connector-bundle The adapter they are sending out is this one: http://shop.teslamotors.com/collections/model-s/products/nema-14-50
      Patrick
      • 1 Year Ago
      His smug now has a smugness
      m_2012
      • 1 Year Ago
      Up $11 a share just since the announcement. I guess when you are proactive and months ahead of the regulatory entity, its a good thing.
        Cayman
        • 1 Year Ago
        @m_2012
        Your guess would be incorrect. The spike has to do with Tesla announcing fourth quarter deliveries (which were a very impressive 6,900). If you bothered to read the article instead of just guessing you would have seen that all that happened today is that the NHTSA classified this as a recall and that more chargers than were initially expected were effected. The "recall" was announced last week (again, in the article).
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @m_2012
        More likely just the anticipation of an announcement at the show in Detroit.
        m_2012
        • 1 Year Ago
        @m_2012
        I agree its just coincidental. It was not a guess and I did read the article - FAIL.
      Joeviocoe
      • 1 Year Ago
      ABG, Sebastian,... is it that hard to find a picture of the actual adapter??? Here are a couple of pics. http://nevadaeva.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/NCES-5-0101.jpg http://evworld.com/press/tesla_adapterkit600x400.jpg GUESS WHAT??? It is not even the whole Charge Cable/EVSE. It is just the adapters (the small black piece).
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      Yeah, and you all bashed me for pointing out that Tesla replacing all the chargers while at the same time saying there was nothing wrong with them was a bit hard to take.
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        If a big fire happened... and Tesla did nothing... it would be a BIGGER article.
        jeff
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        spec, what is it exactly that you have against Tesla?
          Grendal
          • 1 Year Ago
          @jeff
          I'll speak up for Spec (and correct me if I'm wrong, Spec). Spec is very pro-Tesla. He just doesn't like the play on words. I think that's fair to be critical of. Spec is one of our best commenters on ABG. He made a valid point and was bashed for it and now he's pointing that out - again, that's fair. Tesla stated that 2.7% of their 29,222 adapters have had reported faults.
        j
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        That's exactly the point. The chargers are not being recalled at all. They will not ever be TOUCHED by this process. The adapter, which is not part of the recall (recall = the over-the-air update for the car only), ie the little plug at the end of the cable (which fits onto the existing plug) to adapt the cable to dryer outlets, will be replaced.
          j
          • 1 Year Ago
          @j
          Reply above is to Spec: "Yeah, and you all bashed me for pointing out that Tesla replacing all the chargers while at the same time saying there was nothing wrong with them was a bit hard to take."
      m_2012
      • 1 Year Ago
      For all those that did not read the article but just the title: The 14-50 NEMA ADAPTER is being updated with a thermal fuse. Not the charger. AB, time to fix the title "Tesla recalling 29,000 Model S wall chargers to prevent overheating". They are not recalling the wall chargers.
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