Three Tesla owners in California have sued the automaker in a proposed class action over falsely advertising the estimated driving ranges of its EVs.
The lawsuit filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California cites a Reuters article published last week which reported Tesla had created a "Diversion Team" in Nevada to cancel as many range-related appointments as possible. The reason for that was that the company had become overwhelmed by owner complaints of lower range than shown by the in-dash indicator.
The same report included a claim that about ten years ago Tesla had decided to write algorithms for its in-dash range meter that would show drivers optimistic projections for the distance the car could travel on a single charge. The source for that claim said the directive to present the optimistic range estimates came from Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Reuters said it could not determine whether the automaker still uses algorithms that inflate range estimates.
In the lawsuit filed in California, the three plaintiffs allege Tesla breached vehicle warranties and engaged in fraud and unfair competition. They highlighted instances when their Teslas failed to achieve the advertised ranges and said they had complained to the company without success.
Gallery: 2023 Tesla Model X
For example, Model Y owner James Porter from Petaluma, California said in the lawsuit that on one trip he "lost approximately 182 miles of range – despite only driving 92 miles."
The lawsuit seeks class-action status to represent "all persons in California who purchased a new Tesla Model 3, Model S, Model Y, and Model X vehicle." The plaintiffs seek unspecified damages. A lawyer representing the Tesla owners said Tesla had a duty to deliver products which performed as advertised.
"Had Tesla honestly advertised its electric vehicle ranges, consumers either would not have purchased Tesla model vehicles, or else would have paid substantially less for them."
Excerpt from the lawsuit
Tesla also faces lawsuits and regulatory scrutiny over is Autopilot ADAS and "Full Self-Driving" technology. On top of that, a California Tesla owner also filed a proposed consumer class action in April after another Reuters report that claimed Tesla employees had shared on an internal messaging system sensitive images and videos captured by cars' cameras. The lawsuit accuses Tesla of violating the privacy of its customers. Tesla has denied those allegations.