Melbourne: Tesla Inc. is rolling out a software update for two of its electric vehicles, including the flagship Model S, to beef up battery safety as part of a probe into a vehicle fire in Hong Kong.
The over-the-air updates will revise the charge and thermal-management settings for the Model S and Model X, Tesla said in a statement. The company said it’s acting “out of an abundance of caution,” insisting the vehicles are 10 times less likely to experience a blaze than their gas-fueled equivalents.
A Tesla Model S suddenly caught fire in a parking lot at San Po Kong Plaza on May 12. Hong Kong’s Fire Services Department has confirmed it’s investigating a fire, without identifying the make of the car.
Recent vehicle fires have raised concern over the safety of electric vehicles in China, the top market. In 2018, the country recorded at least 40 fire-related incidents involving new-energy vehicles, which includes pure battery electric, hybrid plug-in and fuel-cell vehicles, according to the State Administration for Market Regulation.
In its statement, Tesla said it had a team in Hong Kong to support its customer and establish the facts. “While our investigation with authorities is ongoing, we have found that only a few battery modules were affected and the majority of the battery pack is undamaged,” Tesla said.
NIO Inc., a Tesla rival, said last month one of its ES8 electric vehicles caught fire in the northwestern Chinese city of Xi’an while being repaired. Tesla earlier confirmed it was examining an incident in Shanghai after a car bearing the company’s logo was shown in an April social media video emitting smoke before bursting into flames.