Electric car owners have launched a class action lawsuit against Tesla, the revolutionary car company founded by Elon Musk, in a California court. A group of Model S and Model X customers is claiming that a Tesla software update limited the battery capacity of their cars. The software update allegedly caused range reductions of up to 20%.
This is not the first time that customers have sued Tesla for software issues.
A similar lawsuit arose in 2019 following reports of range declines, as well as slower charging speeds, after a software update. Tesla lost the case, as it could not explain why it had chosen to do a software update that reduced battery capacity. The court ordered Tesla to reestablish most of the battery capacity and to give each owner $625.
Now, years later, the same problem has reared its ugly head again.
The software update that is responsible for the current lawsuit did not come with any release notes that indicated that there would be a loss of battery capacity. Some affected owners contacted Tesla’s customer service department and were informed that they needed to have a battery replacement. This forced some drivers to pay as much as $15,000 for a new battery.
As of the time of writing, Tesla has been silent about the current lawsuit. When combined with its lackluster response to the 2019 suit, it is clear that Tesla must become more serious about preserving the range capacity of its cars.
55% of respondents in a 2022 University of Chicago survey reported that the perception of limited driving range was a major issue preventing them from buying electric cars. With Tesla occupying as much as 70% of the US electric car market, a poor response to the current suit risks damaging the image not only of Tesla, but of the electric car industry as a whole.