Tesla issues battery software update after Hong Kong vehicle fire



Tesla has begun pushing out a software upgrade that will change battery control and thermal management settings in Model S sedans and Model X SUVs after a fire at a parked vehicle in Hong Kong this week.

The software upgrade, which Tesla says is being performed of “an abundance of caution,” is assumed to “protect the battery and enhance its longevity. ” The over-the-air software upgrade will not be made to Model 3 vehicles.

Tesla has not yet identified the cause of the fire or discovered any problems. But the company said it will behave if a problem is discovered by it.

“The safety of our customers is our top priority, and when we do identify an issue, we will do whatever is required to address it,” Tesla said in a statement.

Here is the firm ’s statement in its entirety about the software upgrade:

We currently have well over half a million vehicles on the street, which is more than double the number that we had at the start of this past year, and Tesla’s group of battery specialists uses that information to thoroughly investigate incidents that occur and understand the root cause. Although fire incidents involving Tesla vehicles are extremely rare and our cars are likely to experience a fire than a gas car, we think the number of episodes to anticipate is zero.

As we continue our investigation of the root cause, from an abundance of caution, we’re revising control and thermal management settings on Model S and Model X vehicles through an over-the-air software upgrade that will begin rolling out today, to help further protect the battery and enhance battery longevity.

A Tesla Model S caught fire March 14 while parked near a Hong Kong shopping mall. The vehicle was sitting for about a half an hour before it burst into flames. Three explosions were seen on CCTV footage, Reuters and the Apple Daily newspaper reported at the time.

“Tesla was onsite to offer support to our client and establish the details of the incident,” a Tesla spokesperson said. The investigation is ongoing.

Just a battery modules were affected on the Model S that caught fire, and the majority of the battery pack is undamaged, according to Tesla.

The company noted that the battery packs are designed so that if “in the very rare case ” a fire does occur, it vent heat and will spread. The aim is to give time to occupants.

The Hong Kong fire followed footage published in April that appears to show a Tesla Model S smoking and then exploding while parked at a garage in Shanghai.

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