Tesla software update to prevent “internal combustion”

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Tesla is sending out a software update to all Model S and Model X vehicles that will modify the cars’ battery charge and thermal management systems after videos surfaced of the vehicles bursting into flames in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The explosions, caught on security cameras in April 2019, has rattled both drivers and other industry stakeholders. The latest Hong Kong fire was the result of a spontaneous ignition, after the vehicle had been parked for 30 minutes. Fortunately there were no injuries. Videos of the Shanghai fire just weeks before also showed a Tesla bursting into flames.

The update will help prevent over-charging and potential failures in the Lithium-ion batteries, and an investigation into the Hong Kong incident revealed that “a few battery modules were affected,” according to the company, without sharing any further details.

In a statement to CNN, Tesla has said its EVs “are 10 times less likely to experience a fire than a gas car” and that updates were being made “out of an abundance of caution.”

The company has assured drivers that their vehicles are safe, and are designed to alert occupants if there are any problems. Battery packs are designed to slow the spread of fire.

Lime, the UK e-bike sharing service has previously had to take some of its scooters off the road for software updates following a manufacturing defect that could have caused fires. Whilst no-one was harmed, Lime received some negative attention for failing to immediately disclose the issue.