Tesla identifies reason behind Model S fire in Shanghai, issues update to fix issue

Tesla recently announced that it has identified the cause of a Model S fire that was reported in Shanghai last Apri. The incident, which attracted a notable amount of attention from international media, was due to a single battery module near the front of the vehicle, according to the carmaker. The company has also noted that it had rolled out an over-the-air update to help prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.  

Tesla’s findings, which were determined after a joint analysis with an investigation team, were announced in the electric car maker’s official Weibo account on Friday. The company noted that the investigation covered several aspects of the ill-fated vehicle, from its batteries, its software, its manufacturing data, and its history. The results of the joint investigation showed that the pre-facelift Model S did not have any system detects. Instead, initial findings pointed to a single battery module as the cause of the blaze, which was caught in a parking lot surveillance camera. 

In order to avoid similar incidents from happening, Tesla has revised the charge and thermal management settings on Model S and Model X units, which feature the same systems as the ill-fated vehicle from Shanghai. The Silicon Valley-based company noted that the fix, which was rolled out through an over-the-air update, would help protect the vehicles’ batteries while improving longevity. 

While the loss of the ill-fated electric car in Shanghai was unfortunate, Tesla nevertheless deserves some credit for taking the initiative to fix and immediately roll out a safety update for its Model S and Model X fleet. This update was initially announced last May amidst the company’s investigation of another Model S fire in Hong Kong. A Tesla spokesperson provided a statement about the battery and thermal management update

“Although fire incidents involving Tesla vehicles are already extremely rare and our cars are ten times less likely to experience a fire than a gas car, we believe the right number of incidents to aspire to is zero. As we continue our investigation of the root cause, out of an abundance of caution, we are revising charge and thermal management settings on Model S and Model X vehicles via an over-the-air software update that will begin rolling out today, to help further protect the battery and improve battery longevity,” the spokesperson said. 

Tesla’s capability to roll out safety improvements through over-the-air software updates is steadily becoming a notable edge against competitors in the growing EV market. Just recently, for example, Jaguar announced that it would be recalling the I-PACE for a braking issue. The veteran carmaker noted that the braking problem could be addressed through a software update, but because the company is yet to offer OTA services to its customers, I-PACE owners will be required to set up an appointment with a Jaguar dealer to have their vehicles manually updated.

Tesla identifies reason behind Model S fire in Shanghai, issues update to fix issue


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