Tesla owners sue company over impact of software update on EV batteries

  • The lawsuit stated that the software update has cut the driving range of Tesla models by up to 20%.
The lawsuit stated that the software update has cut the driving range of Tesla models by up to 20%. (REUTERS)
The lawsuit stated that the software update has cut the driving range of Tesla models by up to 20%.

Some owners of Tesla Model S and Model X in the US filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against the electric vehicle maker in California after an automatic software update carried on inside their vehicles have reportedly decreased their driving range or cause failure of batteries in some situations. The lawsuit claimed that these updates and their effects violate state and federal laws.

The lawsuit stated that the software update has cut the driving range by up to 20% as well as require some owners to replace batteries at a cost of $15,000. An attorney from the US District Court in San Francisco, where the lawsuit was filed, mentioned that the EV maker conducts software updates whenever the vehicle is connected to Wi-Fi, without consent of the owners.

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The attorney noted that usually automakers notify customers when they want to perform a software update but Tesla can issue automatic updates whenever the vehicle is connected to Wi-Fi. The lawsuit also mentioned that some Tesla owners have paid third parties $500-to $750 to reverse battery-related software updates on their vehicles.

The lawsuit treats Tesla vehicles as 'protected computers' under the definition outlined in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and treats automatic updates as violation of consumers’ rights under the law. It also noted that Tesla denied reimbursement to the owners of affected Model S and Model X vehicles who experience reduced battery capacity following a software update.

In a similar case in July 2021, Tesla agreed to pay $1.9 million to settle claims that a software update temporarily reduced maximum battery voltage in 1,743 Model S sedans, including about $400,000 in attorneys' fees and expenses. Owners of the vehicles received $625 each. However, it is yet not known if the owners of the current lawsuit will receive such a compensation.

(with inputs from Reuters)

First Published Date: 14 May 2023, 14:58 PM IST
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