U.S. regulator terms Tesla wall adaptor, software upgrade a recall

DETROIT Tue Jan 14, 2014 12:19pm EST

DETROIT Jan 14 (Reuters) - U.S. safety regulators on Tuesday classified as a recall Tesla Motors Inc's move to provide upgraded wall adaptors and charging software, citing the risk of fire.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Tesla is recalling 29,222 Model S electric sedans from model year 2013 for the fix, according to documents filed online.

Last Friday, the electric car maker said it was providing customers with the new adaptor and software upgrade to prevent overheating of its charging systems.

"An overheated adapter, cord, or wall receptacle, increases the risk of burn injury and/or fire," according to the NHTSA documents.

Tesla officials, many of whom were appearing at the Detroit auto show on Tuesday, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Tesla never used the words "recall" or "fire" in Friday's announcement.

Last week's announcement by Tesla came after a November garage fire involving a Model S in Irvine, California, which the Orange County Fire Authority said may have been caused by a Tesla charging system or by a connection at the electricity panel on the wall of the garage.

At the time, Tesla disagreed with the fire officials' findings, contending that the charging electronics were not related to the fire. In the Friday news release, Tesla said its goal was to prevent excessive heating of the adapters used to charge its cars. A variety of factors ranging from corrosion to inappropriate wiring of electrical outlets can cause overheating, the company said.

Separately, three road fires in Model S sedans caused Tesla's stock to fall sharply in October, and NHTSA is investigating the two that took place in the United States. Last November, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said a recall related to the three road fires was not necessary.