A Tesla Recall? Not Exactly, Says Elon Musk

"The word "recall" needs to be recalled," the car company's founder writes in a tweet.

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Stephen Lam / REUTERS

Elon Musk, Chief Executive of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, smiles during the Reuters Global Technology Summit in San Francisco June 18, 2013.

A federal regulator said Tuesday that electric carmaker Tesla Motors is recalling nearly 30,000 of its sedans—even as Tesla founder Elon Musk disputed the term “recall.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Tesla is recalling 29,222 Model S electric sedans because parts of the charging equipment could overheat and pose a risk of burning or fire. The recall will not require the physical return of the vehicles, and NHTSA said in a notice on its website that Tesla has already begun providing owners of the possibly affected cars a software update and a replacement electrical adapter to eliminate the problem.

But Tesla had announced the fixes on Friday and informed NHTSA of the problem in a letter dated Monday in which it referred to the possibility of “excessive heating of the adapter.” The company said it was not a “safety matter” because the potential damage would be contained in the compartment. Unlike the NHTSA, the letter did not call the fixes a “recall.”

The NHTSA  announced the recall on the second day of the Detroit auto show—where a Tesla executive said Tesla deliveries surpassed expectations in the fourth quarter—but Tesla founder and CEO Musk still found time to take to Twitter:

Tesla cars have come under scrutiny for a series of reports of overheating and fires, though none have resulted in serious injury. In November, Musk said Tesla requested NHTSA to open an investigation into two incidents with the aim of dispelling concerns over the car’s safety.