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Industryweek 12535 120716 Tesla Chargers

Tesla Recalls 7,000 Charging Adapters After a Pair Overheat

Dec. 7, 2016
The recall is voluntary for a product for which Tesla reportedly stopped production more than two years ago and has not sold in at least six months.

Tesla Motors Inc. said it’s voluntarily recalling about 7,000 adapters for electric-vehicle charging after two reports of overheating that resulted in melted plastic on the plugs. The rarely-used item is sold through the company’s online store. 

Two customers reported overheating in November, according to an e-mail the company sent to customers Tuesday. No damage besides the melted plastic was reported, and Tesla said it has notified U.S. regulators of its voluntary recall. The accessories were manufactured by an outside supplier and haven’t been sold for at least six months, according to Tesla. 

The two cases of overheating equipment involved the NEMA 14-30 adapters, which are sometimes used to charge Tesla vehicles via clothes-dryer appliance outlets in U.S. homes. International customers aren’t affected. Replacements will be shipped beginning in the next few weeks, and customers should avoid using them in the meantime.

According to posts on the Tesla Motors Club message boards, the company stopped production of the NEMA 14-30 in late 2014 or early 2015. The product page no longer exists on the Tesla web site.

The company will also be replacing the NEMA 10-30 and 6-50 adapters, which have a similar design. Those replacements will take about three months, but as there haven’t been any reported instances of overheating in those versions, customers who rely on them may continue to use them, according to the company. 

Recalls are common in the U.S. automotive industry. Last year saw a record number of them involving more than 50 million cars, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

This recall is Tesla’s fifth since it began delivering the Model S to customers in June 2012, but the first of just an accessory. A year ago, in its biggest recall, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company recalled all 90,000 Model S cars on the road at the time because of a single report of a front seatbelt not being properly connected. In April, Tesla recalled less than 3,000 Model X SUVs because of problems with its third-row seats.

By Tom Randall

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