Tesla lands in hot water after a new report alleges the company told a huge, long-term lie about its vehicles: Over the years, Tesla has been charged with a number of unethical commercial practices. The most recent, according to a recent, in-depth analysis by Reuters, is that the manufacturer of electric vehicles misled customers about the battery range of their vehicles.
In addition, the article claims that Tesla established a whole “Diversion Team” in secret to resist customers who complained about the problem.
Read also: Tesla cuts Model S, X prices by over 6% in China.
Since the first EVs were launched, “range anxiety” — the worry that your electric vehicle’s battery might run out between charging stations and leave you stranded — has been a problem for producers of EVs.
In order to allay this consumer anxiety, EV manufacturers have succeeded in creating effective and dependable batteries that have a range of hundreds of miles.
Tesla, however, reportedly went a step further and rigged the range-estimating software within its cars in order to advertise driving distances that were not accurate.
According to Reuters, “a person familiar with an early design of the software for its in-dash readouts” claimed that Tesla’s range meter would display “rosy” predictions for the distance a car might go on a full battery. In order to prevent really leaving vehicles stranded with an empty battery, the projection would change to a realistic number whenever the battery dipped below 50% charged.
Drivers who saw the abrupt transition, though, believed their automobiles were having a problem and made service appointments. The “Diversion Team” stepped in at that point.
According to reports, the crew was entrusted with locating clients who had made appointments based on false range estimations. After that, they were supposed to inform those clients that nothing was wrong with their automobiles and to cancel their appointments without ever disclosing the true nature of the problem.
Tesla’s range estimates have been criticized in the past; earlier this year, the South Korean government penalized the EV manufacturer $2.2 million for failing to inform buyers that their cars’ ranges are shorter in colder weather, according to Reuters.
However, it was previously unknown how willfully Tesla misled its customers and then tried to cover it up.
The business was accused of raising the cost of its solar roofs after customers had already signed a contract, which led to a recent lawsuit that Tesla was obliged to pay over alleged violations of consumer rights.
Experts have also claimed that the company’s deceptive marketing of its “Full-Self Driving” feature, which still needs driver oversight, has contributed to risky driving habits and accidents.