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Tesla Motors Inc. Stock This Week -- Another Accolade and New Charger Adapters

Despite the S&P 500's small gain of about 0.6%, Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) shares fell about 2.6% this week. After falling from highs above $190 per share at the end of September and the beginning of October, Tesla stock continues to trade lower. Though the media often attributes a few Model S fires that resulted from high-speed accidents to the stock's return to lower levels, the stock was due for a pullback after soaring about 500% in just 12 months.

There's nothing specific to attribute Tesla's decline this week. But looking back at the week, there were a few notable stories Tesla investors might appreciate.

Free upgrade to charging adapters -- but not a recall
Tesla announced that it will provide new charger adapters for wall outlets to all Model S owners. The adapters will address about "a half-dozen incidents, described on a Tesla-owner website and in some cases relayed to U.S. regulators, in which Model S wall plugs melted or smoked while vehicles were charging," according to Bloomberg.

Though the mass mailing of adapters suggests Tesla has problems with its connectors, the company continues to insist that overheating in the plug is a result of problems in the outlet, such as faulty wiring.

This new connector is actually Tesla's second attempt to address overheating in outlets. The first came in December, when Tesla sent out a software update that would reduce charging current when there are unexpected fluctuations in the input power to the vehicle caused by a problem outside of Tesla's charging system.

The replacement adapter is an attempt to further protect the charging system from faulty wiring.

"These are very rare events, but occasionally the wiring isn't done right," Musk said in an interview with Bloomberg. "We want people to have absolute comfort, so we're going to be providing them with an upgraded adapter."

Supercharger station. Source: Tesla Motors.

Supercharger network gets props
AOL Auto's "Technology of the Year" was an easy choice this year. With votes "clearly surpassing all of the other contenders," Tesla's Supercharger Network was the consensus favorite among the AOL's panelists. AOL Auto's editorial staff agreed that the Supercharger network for Tesla's vehicles "is a game changer, and easily deserves to be called the Technology of the Year."

"Tesla is showing, again, that there are amazing technological breakthroughs to be made in the EV game, and are kind of making the rest of the industry look bad," said Sebastian Blanco, editor of Autoblog, regarding Tesla's accolade.

While the charging technology itself, which charges the Model S approximately 20 times faster than most public charging stations, is superior to typical charging infrastructure, it's the company's expansion of the network that is most impressive. Tesla plans to have chargers within range of approximately 80% of the U.S. population by the end of 2014 and 98% of the population by 2015. Tesla is rapidly expanding the network internationally, too.

Exceptional customer service is expected
Neither of this week's stories is meaningful enough to alter an investment thesis for Tesla stock, but it is nice to see Tesla being proactive in addressing customer complaints, even though the company claims the problem exists outside of the vehicle. Given that the Model S a luxury car and deserves high-end customer service,combined with the fact that Tesla's technology is new and will likely be scrutinized closely, it's great to see Tesla continue to offer an exceptional level of service.

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Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 12:47 AM, countrarian wrote:

    At least try to salvage a modicum of journalistic neutrality and integrity. Every weekend like clockwork you put out multiple positive articles concerning Tesla. It's become a little bit of a running joke.

    I guess in turn every weekend we'll just have to take out your best line of the week, to wit:

    "Free upgrade to charging adapters -- but not a recall"

    If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like duck....It was a recall.

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 9:53 AM, electrictorque wrote:

    Great Article and to the point. Tesla is considered to be a top American Brand world wide.

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2014, at 12:11 PM, CAGriffinX2 wrote:

    @countrarian, I don't think you understand what this part is that Tesla has upgraded. It is simply an adapter that you stick on the end of the charging cord and then plug it into a 240v outlet. There are several other adapters available for other types of outlets.

    This is not in any way a recall of the car. There is nothing wrong with the car itself. The cause of the "one and ONLY" garage fire was that the outlet was wired with only 8 gauge wire instead of the 6 gauge wire that is recommended for charging a Tesla on a 240v outlet. The outlet overheated after several hours of pushing that much current through 8 gauge wire. I do realize that 8 gauge is the standard for most 240v outlets, but most people who can afford a Tesla can also afford to have an electrician install a special outlet in their garage that has 6 gauge wire!

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2014, at 12:28 PM, CAGriffinX2 wrote:

    One more thing... Just for clarification, these new adapters now have a thermal fuse built in to cut off the charging if the electrical outlet gets too hot. The over-the-air update that Tesla sent out to the cars monitors the flow of electricity to the car's built-in chargers and will cut the flow by 25% if it detects a problem with the power coming from the outlet.

    This is a proactive approach to solving a problem that actually has nothing to do with the car itself. It amazes me how many people can't understand this, and they are turning a positive thing into just another reason to bash Tesla. I guess this is a problem you face as a company when too many people shorted your stock and lost their ass doing so!

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Daniel Sparks

Daniel is a senior technology specialist at The Motley Fool. To get the inside scoop on his coverage of technology companies, follow him on Twitter.

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