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 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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