Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) to Enhance Model S Charging System

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Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) announced that it will provide an upgraded wall adapter to its Model S vehicles in addition to the software update provided in December. The automaker intends to prevent excessive heating of the adapters to ensure safety to its customers.

The Universal Mobile Connector (UMC) NEMA 14-50 adapters can overheat due to higher than normal electrical resistance resulting from corrosion, physical damage of receptacles or faulty wiring of electrical outlets.

In order to counter this problem, in Dec 2013, Tesla launched an over-the-air software update which will prompt the Model S onboard charging system to automatically reduce the charging current by 25% when there is a variation in the input power. This reduces the heat generated in any high resistance connections outside the vehicle.

Tesla’s vehicles will automatically be upgraded with this technology via the over-the-air update. The receipt of the upgrade can be verified by checking if the car is functioning with a 5.8.4  or newer software version. The vehicles, which cannot be upgraded with this over-the-air technology, need to be taken to the Tesla authorized Service Centers or Tesla Rangers.

As an added precaution, Tesla designed an improved wall adapter with a thermal fuse for those using the 14-50 sockets. In case the circuit breakers malfunction on the house side or the car side, this thermal fuse will prevent further current flow in case the wall socket region heats up. This upgraded adapter will be provided to users of the existing and new vehicles free of cost within a few weeks.

Tesla currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). We are concerned about the persistent losses, production constraints, high prices and mounting R&D and SG&A expenses of the company. Some prominent automobile companies include Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (HMC), Tata Motors Limited (TTM) and Ford Motor Co. (F).

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