Tesla is launching a software update for all Model S and X models after two recent high profile battery fires. The automaker said it is issuing the update "for a large amount of caution."
The update by air will change some of the settings in the battery management software of the cars related to the load and the thermal controls, although the company did not. Do not go into more details. (Tesla's battery management system software is one of the company's best-kept business secrets.)
The software update comes after some highly publicized fires in Asia. In April, an older Model S apparently burns while not being used in a parking structure in Shanghai. The fire was captured by security cameras, and the images quickly became viral. Tesla sent a team to investigate the fire, but has not published any findings. Just this week, another Model S caught fire in a parking lot in Hong Kong, shortly after the owner had loaded the car.
The fires involving Tesla batteries have received a lot of attention in recent years, much to the dismay of CEO Elon Musk. He has often pointed out the frequency of fires in automobiles with internal combustion engines, and claimed that Tesla cars have "more than 500% * less * chance of catching fire".
most recent fires are that, unlike most of the approximately 20 incidents Business Insider recently cataloged since 2013, these cars were parked when they burned down. Vehicle fires are common after a crash, and most fires involving Teslas have occurred after violent crashes (or in some cases, some of the cars have restarted after an initial fire). But these new incidents related to the spontaneous combustion of the batteries of their cars seem to have caused the action of Tesla.
"As we continue with our root cause investigation, as a precaution, we are reviewing the load configuration and thermal management in Model S and Model X vehicles through an over-the-air software update that will begin at implemented today to help further protect the battery and improve battery life, "the company said in a statement.
Fires in electric cars must be handled differently, since they can not be extinguished with foam or other chemicals. Instead, they often require thousands of gallons of water to extinguish. Tesla has worked with the first responders to ensure that they are equipped with the specific knowledge needed to put out fires by battery.
The company has also implemented software updates to help curb fires at least twice before. In 2016, Tesla launched an over-the-air update to "provide additional security during loading" after a Model S caught fire in Norway. In 2013, Tesla released an update that raised the handling height of the Model S when traveling at highway speeds to reduce the risk of debris drilling into the battery. That update came immediately after an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration into several fires in Tesla. The agency closed that investigation in 2014 after Tesla decided to add more physical protection to its battery packs.