Department of Justice Probing Tesla's Overstated Electric Vehicle Range Claims
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched an investigation into Tesla over allegations of exaggerating battery ranges.
New documents disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reveal that Tesla is not only contending with previously reported lawsuits related to the range issue but also a federal probe initiated by the DOJ.
In recent months, concerns about Tesla's electric vehicle (EV) range claims have come to the forefront. A Reuters report over the summer suggested that Tesla may have intentionally inflated EV range figures, purportedly at the behest of CEO Elon Musk.
When Tesla customers, dissatisfied with their EVs' actual performance relative to the advertised range, sought service appointments, the company allegedly took evasive measures. Reports indicate that Tesla established a specialized "Diversion Team" with the specific goal of canceling as many range-related service appointments as possible.
This stands in stark contrast to the conservative range estimates typically provided by most automakers for their EVs. Notably, Tesla has deviated from this industry practice. Car & Driver conducted an examination of Tesla's range claims and found that, on average, Tesla's EVs fell short of the stated range values by roughly double that of most other electric vehicles on the market.
While EV range is a critical factor influencing potential buyers, the phenomenon of 'range anxiety'—concerns about how far an EV can travel before requiring a recharge—continues to be a significant barrier for many considering electric cars. Companies advertising impressive EV range figures can gain a competitive edge, addressing customer apprehensions about EV ownership.
One source with knowledge of the situation stated, 'Elon wanted to show good range numbers when fully charged,' emphasizing the purported motivation behind the alleged range exaggeration.
The investigation by the DOJ is expected to shed light on the veracity of these claims and their potential implications for both Tesla and the EV industry as a whole.