Within the past month two Tesla Model S electric vehicles have burst into flames while unattended in a parking lot. We still don’t know why, but Tesla is now responding with a software update.
As Reuters reports, a battery software update has now been released by Tesla for both the Model S and Model X lines of electric vehicles. In a statement released yesterday, Tesla explained that, “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 first incident of a Model S catching fire in a parking lot occurred in April in Shanghai. CCTV cameras recorded smoke appearing from beneath the vehicle before the flames took hold. Then earlier this week, a second Model S burst into flames, again while parked, but no footage of that incident has appeared yet even though it is thought to exist.
By revising the charge and thermal management settings on its vehicles, I’d guess Tesla is going to trigger some thermal safety features sooner if it detects a spike in temperatures. That way there’s less chance of another fire happening. However, the statement suggests this is just a cautionary measures rather than Tesla’s investigation having already pinned down the cause of the fires.