Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) may be facing a safety investigation for its Model S fires, but the company remains focused on efforts to increase the safety of its cars. The latest safety feature added by the automaker is a software update that automatically reduces voltage while charging a Model S, in case the input power witnesses fluctuations.
The software update is apparently in response to the recent garage fire in Irvine, Calif., which took place when a Model S was being charged on a wall socket. While Tesla declared that over-heating of the Model S charging system was not responsible for the fire, it released the new software update, which will automatically reduce charging current by 25% in case of unexpected fluctuations in power while charging.
The move will prevent the battery from catching fire even when there is a problem in the wiring system outside the car. This will make it safe to charge the car in unfamiliar places.
This is not the first time that Tesla is releasing a software update to improve safety of its cars. Last month, the company offered a wireless update to the air suspension to increase the ground clearance of Model S during high speed travel. This is expected to reduce the probability of damage to the car from any underbody impact.
This update was in response to two Model S fires caused due to debris crashing into the underbody of the cars during high speed highway travel. The fires resulted in extensive negative media coverage for Tesla and a significant drop in the share price.
Moreover, Tesla is currently under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for the fire incidents. However, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, expects the Model S to be cleared by the NHTSA. He believes that the car is safe and hence, does not expect the investigation to lead to a recall.
Nevertheless, in Jan 2014, Tesla plans another software update that will enable the driver to control the air suspension ride height transitions. These software updates are simple, effective and cost-efficient methods for increasing the safety of the car, without any recalls or hassle for the owners.