Recall Alert: Tesla Announces Voluntary Recall of 7,000 Select NEMA Adapters For Tesla UMC

As any electric car owner will tell you, one of the biggest challenges to owning an electric vehicle is finding a suitable place to plug-in and charge when you’re away from home, especially if you’re off the beaten track. And while most electric car owners have a dedicated, permanently wired electric car charging station at home, finding a charge when you’re away from home and not near a public charging station can be a challenge.

Which is why many experienced, veteran electric car owners or those regularly travel longer distances by electric car often carry a portable 240-volt charging unit (or EVSE) with them — especially if they happen to live in countries where the standard wall outlet is only capable of providing 110 volts at 20 amps or less. For most, that means either buying an aftermarket portable charging unit designed to work with 240-volts, or fitting an appropriate NEMA plug to the end of a domestic charging unit designed to be statically mounted.

Certain Adapters for Tesla's UMC are being recalled.

Certain Adapters for Tesla’s UMC are being recalled.

As with most things to do with electric cars, Tesla has a far more elegant solution in the form of the Universal Mobile Charger, (or UMC for short). Designed to work with a variety of different 240-volt outlets, the Tesla Mobile Connector Bundle consists of a power electronics unit (which talks to the car and ensures it pulls the correct power for whatever the unit is plugged into), as well as a set of plug adaptors for common 240-volt wall sockets.

In addition to the UMC unit and the standard NEMA 14-50 adapter and NEMA 5-15 adapter that comes standard with the UMC, Tesla also sells less common adapters for the UMC, including NEMA 14-30, NEMA 10-30 and NEMA 6-50 as aftermarket add ons for the unit.

The two adapters which come as standard with the UMC are not affected.

The two adapters which come as standard with the UMC are not affected.

But while Tesla’s solution is arguably the most elegant, the California company has just issued a voluntary recall for some 7,000 of those optional extra NEMA adapters after two customers reported the plugs overheated while in use.

As Tesla detailed on itse website today, the voluntary recall does not affect the Tesla Wall Connector, Universal Mobile Connector, or the standard NEMA 14-50 and NEMA 5-15 adapters that come with the UMC. Nor does it affect the commonly purchased NEMA 6-15 or NEMA 5-20 adapters.

Instead, it only involves the NEMA 14-30, NEMA 10-30 and NEMA 6-50 adapters. Since these plugs only exist in North America, Tesla says the recall only affects cars purchased in North America. And because these plugs and adapters are less common, Tesla also notes that only a handful of customers will be affected by the recall, one of the reasons that only 7,000 units are affected.

As a courtesy however, Tesla says it will replace “Nema 14-30, 10-30 and 6-50 adapters that were made years ago by our original supplier,” adding that “if you have one of these NEMA 14-30 adapters and regularly use it, you will receive a replacement from us within the next couple of weeks.”

Here are the affected part numbers.

Here are the affected part numbers.

Those who use their adapters less frequently are told to expect their a replacement unit as soon as possible. For an extra precaution, Tesla asks anyone with an affected adapter to cease using it until it can be replaced with a newer unit.

In its official blog post announcing the recall, Tesla says that the following adapters and part numbers will be recalled, but notes that the latest version of the NEMA 14-30 adapter does not need to be replaced. This is different from the first two versions of the NEMA 14-30 adapter in both the color of the adapter (grey versus black) and the part number.

 

This isn’t the first time Tesla has made the decision to recall adapters for its UMC. Back in January 2014, the California company recalled approximately 29,000 NEMA 14-50 adapters for the Tesla UMC after several reports of the NEMA 14-50 adaptor overheating, melting and in at least one case, starting a fire. In that instance the recall involved replacing affected units with a newly designed NEMA 14-50 adapter fitted with a new type of thermal fuse. It is not clear at this time if Tesla’s latest recall will follow a similar path.

NEMA 14-30 adapters with black inside are included in the recall: grey ones are not.

NEMA 14-30 adapters with black inside are included in the recall: grey ones are not.

Concerned owners can contact Tesla directly on 877-798-3752, or by emailing [email protected]

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  • Matt Beard

    “if you have one of these NEMA 14-30 adapters and regularly use it, you will receive a replacement from us within the next couple of weeks.”

    So… that suggests that the car knows what adapter is in use and either routinely sends this information to Tesla, or stores it and can be remotely queried about it. Personally I like that (and the way Tesla is using the data) but I know some will be horrified!

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