Tesla owner sues company for alleged battery fraud 

Posted: August 10, 2019 by oldbrew in fraud, Legal, Travel

Tesla model X [image credit: IB Times]

In a world where car makers can remotely change the characteristics of a vehicle after selling it, obviously nobody wants the result to make the car less attractive to own than before. Did that happen here?

A Tesla owner has filed a suit against the carmaker claiming the company used a software update to deliberately reduce the battery range of his vehicle in an attempt to avoid a recall due to faults in these batteries, reports OilPrice.com.

Reuters reports the suit was filed earlier this week, with the plaintiff seeking class action status on the grounds that “thousands” of other owners of older Model S and X cars could have been affected.

In some cases, according to the allegations, the range reduction came in at as much as 40 miles.

“A very small percentage of owners of older Model S and Model X vehicles may have noticed a small reduction in range when charging to a maximum state of charge following a software update designed to improve battery longevity,” the company said in response to the allegations, as quoted by Reuters.

The software update the plaintiffs and other Tesla owners are blaming for the batteries’ range reduction was released in May and drivers complained online that this devalued the cars they had bought for more money and supposedly longer range.

“Under the guise of ‘safety’ and increasing the ‘longevity’ of the batteries of the Class Vehicles, Tesla fraudulently manipulated its software with the intent to avoid its duties and legal obligations to customers to fix, repair, or replace the batteries of the Class Vehicles, all of which Tesla knew were defective, yet failed to inform its customers of the defects,” according to the lawsuit.

Full report here.

  1. stpaulchuck says:

    “the range reduction came in at as much as 40 miles.”
    so it cut the range in half?

  2. Gary says:

    It will hinge on whether or not the owners manual or other sales documentation said Tesla could alter the product ex post facto and the purchaser agreed to that. If there was such a stipulation, the reason for the software change doesn’t matter. If not, then the court will have a nice dispute to settle about this truly being a safety recall.

  3. oldbrew says:

    Gary – Tesla can’t award itself the right to commit fraud, even if someone signs a piece of paper. The question remains, was it fraud?

  4. ivan says:

    Another question, will Tesla do something like that on the South Australia backup battery and so make it totally useless?

  5. Gamecock says:

    Gary, oldbrew, the courts will decide. Frankly, I don’t know enough about the facts to figure out which way it will go.

    I do know that the situation, as evidenced here, is that Tesla buyers are subject to the whims of the company’s decisions which can be implemented through downloaded software changes. A totally new paradigm. Ford can’t change my Shelby. I add this thought to my reasons for not buying a Tesla. Giving a meatball company control over my vehicle is not going to happen.

    A company controlling your vehicle is not better than government controlling your vehicle.

  6. Saighdear says:

    Well, just simply put, DONT BUY a Tesla ( or any other Similar vehicle ). Hull’s balls, we get that with not only cars but Agric Machinery as well. It is well documented in the Sales Brochures abot how one can “Link in” with the Manuf’r or their Agents to keep an eye on the equipment. You are even “foolish” enough to pay for the service. Illustrates, not just how gullible, but how ignorant management is, nowadays, to buy into such sckames. ( typo intended). Have had my fill of such equipment this past few weeks where Customers have had problems with equipment – wasn’t quite what was ‘on the Tin’ Automobiles are inccreasingly becoming more like that. – like Sofware – Licence to USE, not to OWN. ……

  7. oldbrew says:

    Gamecock – re. Ford can’t change my Shelby.

    Not remotely, that’s true. But engine management systems can be adjusted in various ways.


  8. Gamecock says:

    A friend of mine is the top Mustang tuner in the Carolina’s. He has 6 employees. Adjusting engine management systems, etc.

  9. Where I live about 70% of the auto vehicles are medium to large SUV (mine medium Subaru Forester & wife medium VW Tiguan). No one admires a stupid rich socialist driving a Tesla which will run out of battery and may catch fire when charging. No one admires the stupid rich buying a Lamborgini that will cost a fortune to repair when mum tries to park her large SUV to drop off the kids at schools. Kids prefer to go to school in the car than go in the school bus which takes hours to pick up or drop off at several schools or get bullied by the plebs and rough nuts that don’t have a parent that can drop and pick them up. Have only seen one Tesla in this area of 300000 over the last 5 years.and none in the last two years. I tend to think Greens are becoming less welcome with all the stupid things they are pushing. Can not understand why Tesla is still in business -must be enough stupid buying their junk -then of course the green socialists are stupid and naive.

  10. Breitbart news London/Europe today has a story of a Tesla going up in flames after an accident in Moscow Russia. It seems that the car was partly on Autopilot when it hit a parked tow truck. Practically nothing left of the Tesla after it disappeared in a fireball. This will hit sales.

  11. Gamecock says:

    Which begs the question: Do the Russians blame everything on US?