Tesla Has Been Fined $2.2 Million For Exaggerating Driving Range Of EVs

The South Korean antitrust agency announced a 2.85 billion won ($2.2 million) fine against Tesla for neglecting to inform customers about the lower driving range of its electric vehicles in cold weather.

According to the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC), Tesla misrepresented the “driving ranges of its cars on a single charge, their fuel cost-effectiveness compared to gasoline vehicles, and the performance of its Superchargers” on its official local website from August 2019 until recently.

The driving range of the US EV manufacturer’s cars drops by up to 50.5 percent in cold weather compared to how it is marketed online, the KFTC said in a statement on Tuesday.

Tesla provides guidance for winter driving on its website, such as pre-cooling cars with external power sources and utilizing the updated Energy app to track energy use. Still, it doesn’t address the reduction in driving range below-freezing temperatures.

The driving range of most EVs decreases by up to 40% in cold weather when batteries need to be heated, according to Citizens United for Consumer Sovereignty, a South Korean consumer group, which cited data from the country’s environment ministry. 

Mercedes-Benz and its Korean subsidiary were fined 20.2 billion won by the KFTC last year for false advertising regarding the gas emissions of its diesel passenger vehicles.

The performance of electric vehicles at severe temperatures is well-recognized to be a concern. A 2020 study of 4,200 connected EVs of all makes and models by Geotab, a Canadian telematics service, discovered that most models had a comparable loss in range in cold weather, owing to the battery being used to heat the car for the driver and passengers.

The average EV beat its indicated range at slightly above 20 degrees Celsius, but at – 15 degrees, it only had 54% of its rated range, according to the study.

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