Customers sue Tesla over ‘misleading’ range: Why it’s wrong

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44 French Tesla customers have decided to sue the brand accusing it of having misled them about the autonomy of their cars. According to a bailiff, it would be less than what the mark indicates, especially when it’s cold. This shows that manufacturers still need to educate motorists on this point.


Range has long been a touchy subject for motorists and manufacturers. And for good reason, it still remains today. one of the main barriers to buyingwhile customers would be ready to go as long as electric cars pass at least the 400-kilometre mark. What is an erroras we explained above.

a quick test

If the old European cycle of consumption and autonomy certification (NEDC) was quite optimistic, the new WLTP is closer to real traffic conditions, although in general the tests are carried out optimally to reduce consumption. The values ​​shown by the manufacturers. so it may differ from real life. But that’s still not entirely clear to everyone, and especially a handful of Tesla customers.

In total, and as the site relates the informedIndeed, there are 44 owners of the Tesla Model 3 who have decided to take the firm to justice. The latter believe that they have been cheated by the latter in the autonomy of their car, announced between 448 and 580 kilometers WLTP. However, a sheriff commissioned by the customers pointed out a figure 30% lower. And it would be even worse in winter.

According to the group of complainants, it would then be a hidden defect. Yeah some ask for termination of the sales contractOthers believe that Tesla should reduce the purchase price of its car. A request motivated by the lower prices operated by the brand, which would have upset some customers who paid a high price for their car? We have the right to think so.

The court ultimately dismissed the clients, saying that ” the differences between the WLTP standard and the actual autonomy observed are inherent in electric vehicles and not just vehicles of the American brand.

The plaintiffs then confused real autonomy and WLTP, while the Versailles Commercial Court points out that various documents such as the driver’s manual or the manufacturer’s certificate of conformity refer to this difference. As a result, the disgruntled owners were sentenced to joint payment of 40,000 euros to Tesla to reimburse the legal costs incurred.

a simple misunderstanding

But then, were the plaintiffs right to sue Tesla? Did the brand really deceive its customers? To tell the truth, nothing seems to indicate it, while the court ruled in favor of the builder. But this matter reveals above all that there is still an important task of educating motorists around the electric car. Because many do not know that autonomy is far from being an exact science.

Because the WLTP certification is carried out under conditions that are certainly more demanding than the NEDC, they remain optimal. For example, measurements are made by heating, while this one consumes about 2,000 to 3,000 watts with a resistance, compared to less than 500 watts for a heat pump. Furthermore, we know that cold has a significant impact on range, whatever the car, even if some models do better than others. This is particularly the case with the Tesla Model S as revealed by a test conducted by Norwegian journalists.

Many parameters influence the distance an electric car can travel on a single charge. The temperature, of course, but also the speed. As a recent study shows, this aspect also has a strong impact on autonomy, depending on the type of car and route. Therefore, it is quite logical that the real figure and the one announced by the manufacturer vary to a greater or lesser extent.

This is why, in particular, it is essential to choose a car equipped with a route planner, if possible on board, in order to really organize your trip and not be surprised. The latter then adjust the maximum distance depending on driving and external factors such as temperature. Indeed, autonomy will not be the same depending on whether a sporty or smooth pace is adopted, the latter tends to melt at high speed.

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