Federal probe launched into Tesla for possible battery defects after 'alarming number of car fires'

PHOTO: Tesla super chargers are shown in Mojave, Calif. July 10, 2019. PlayMike Blake/Reuters
WATCH Tesla faces federal investigation after claims of cars bursting into flames

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched an investigation into the possibility that battery defects in Tesla vehicles may have caused the cars to burst into flames.

The investigation will involve certain battery management system software updates in Model S and Model X vehicles made between 2012 and 2019 in response to an "alarming number of car fires that have occurred worldwide," according to a letter the agency sent to Al Prescott, Tesla's deputy general counsel, on Oct. 24.

The alleged defects in question are "high-voltage battery fires that are not related to collision or impact damage to the battery pack," according to the letter.

PHOTO: A Tesla car arrives at a service center in Los Angeles, March 4, 2019. Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images, FILE
A Tesla car arrives at a service center in Los Angeles, March 4, 2019.

The federal agency is seeking to interview all past and present officers and employees who were involved with the design, engineering, analysis, modification, production, testing, assessment or evaluation of the battery management system, as well as those who had consideration or recognition of potential actual defects through forums such as field reports or complaints and had communication to or from zone representatives, dealers or other field locations.

The petitioner who requested an investigation is representing a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit filed in the Northern District of California that relates to the software updates. Tesla has until Nov. 28 to comply with the requests from the NHTSA, or it could face a fine up to $111.6 million.

The electric car company has faced a several issues involving its vehicles in recent months.

PHOTO: Tesla super chargers are shown in Mojave, Calif. July 10, 2019. Mike Blake/Reuters
Tesla super chargers are shown in Mojave, Calif. July 10, 2019.

In February, a Florida man died after his Model S caught fire after crashing into a palm tree, but he could't get out because the electronic door handles wouldn't open.

In March, another Florida man died after he crashed into a tractor trailer while Autopilot was engaged in his 2018 Model S.

A representative for Tesla did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.