Three California-based Tesla car owners have taken legal action against the automaker in a proposed class action, alleging false advertising of their electric vehicles’ estimated driving ranges.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, refers to a recent Reuters article disclosing the existence of a “Diversion Team” in Nevada, established by Tesla to cancel as many range-related appointments as possible due to an overwhelming number of owner complaints.
According to the same Reuters report, about a decade ago, Tesla designed algorithms for its in-dash range meter to display overly optimistic projections of the car’s distance on a full battery. These “rosy” estimates were apparently at the direction of Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, although it remains unclear if such algorithms are still in use.
Tesla and Musk did not respond to the specific inquiries made by Reuters in their last week’s article, nor did they immediately comment on the lawsuit.
- Advertisement -
The legal action claims that Tesla violated vehicle warranties and engaged in fraud and unfair competition.
Adam A. Edwards, an attorney at Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman, representing the Tesla owners, emphasized the automaker’s duty to deliver products that live up to their advertisements.
The three plaintiffs in the lawsuit share instances where their Teslas fell significantly short of the advertised ranges, despite their complaints to the company going unanswered.
For instance, James Porter, a Model Y owner from Petaluma, California, alleged that during one trip, his car “lost approximately 182 miles of range—despite only driving 92 miles.”
The lawsuit contends that had Tesla been honest about the electric vehicle ranges, consumers would either not have purchased their vehicles or would have paid considerably less for them.
The complaint aims to obtain class-action status, representing all individuals in California who purchased new Tesla Model 3, Model S, Model Y, and Model X vehicles, seeking unspecified damages.
Apart from this range-related lawsuit, Tesla is also facing legal and regulatory challenges concerning its Autopilot and “Full Self-Driving” technology, as well as claims about the systems’ safety.
Back in April, a California Tesla owner filed another proposed consumer class action following a Reuters report about Tesla employees sharing sensitive images and videos captured by the cars’ cameras on an internal messaging system. The lawsuit alleges privacy violations by Tesla, which the company denies.