Tesla Launches Software Update to Address Recent Battery Fires

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【Summary】In response to some high-profile battery fires, Tesla has released a software update claiming it was launched “out of an abundance of caution.”

Manish Kharinta    Jun 24, 2019 11:30 AM PT
Tesla Launches Software Update to Address Recent Battery Fires

Electric car manufacturer, Tesla Inc has always prioritized the thermal management of its vehicles' battery packs while designing its EVs. Even for the Model 3 Performance variant, the company designed a software upgrade which would overclock the car's AC compressor in the high-speed ranges to cool the battery pack.

Despite taking great precautions, the battery packs of some Tesla Model S and X models overheated, resulting in some high-profile battery fires. In response, Tesla released a software update, which the company claims was launched "out of an abundance of caution."

The over-the-air update tweaks the battery management software settings that administer charging and thermal controls in Tesla models.

In an official statement, the automaker said "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"

It remains uncertain whether this same software update is used for the thermal management system found in the Model 3 Performance model. Tesla has refrained from disclosing any details related to the update, which is understandable as the battery cooling software in the Model 3 Performance is Tesla's proprietary technology.

The battery packs of the Tesla cars in question caught fire in Asia and received substantial attention from the public. Last month in Shanghai, a Tesla Model S spontaneously caught fire while it was parked in a indoor parking garage.

A team of specialists was summoned by the company to investigate the incident but Tesla refused to disclose the findings. The incident, however, was captured in CCTV footage and the video of the Model S battery going up in flames went viral.

Earlier this week, another Tesla Model S caught fire after the driver finished charging it at a EV charging station in Hong Kong.

To downplay the fires, Tesla CEO Elon Musk shared a comparison on Twitter between electric cars and cars equipped with internal combustion engines. Musk pointed out that electric cars are "500% less likely to catch fire" than gas-powered vehicles.

It should also be noted that these fires were common among cars which had been involved in major traffic collisions at some point and underwent substantial repairs.

Still, Tesla is taking additional precautions when it comes to these battery fires, as these types of fires cannot be extinguished by chemicals or foam, therefore requiring gallons of water to put them out.

The company has joined forces with first responders and briefed them on protocols that need to be followed while dealing with any type of electric vehicle battery fires.

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