Tesla, the electric vehicle pioneer, finds itself under the scrutiny of the Department of Justice (DOJ) due to allegations of exaggerated battery range claims. This investigation, disclosed in documents submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), comes in the wake of previous lawsuits concerning Tesla’s range assertions, shedding light on a contentious issue that has raised concerns within the EV industry.
Recent accusations of Tesla intentionally inflating its EV range figures, purportedly under the directive of CEO Elon Musk, have cast a shadow over the company’s reputation. A report from Reuters over the summer implied that Tesla was deliberately enhancing its EV range numbers. When customers began scheduling service appointments due to their vehicles falling short of the promised range, Tesla allegedly avoided addressing these concerns. They reportedly established a dedicated “Diversion Team” responsible for canceling as many appointments related to range issues as possible.
In contrast to most automakers that tend to provide conservative estimates for their EV range claims, Tesla has taken a divergent approach. Car & Driver, for instance, conducted tests revealing that EVs from manufacturers like BMW and Mercedes often met or even exceeded the advertised range estimates. However, when assessing Tesla vehicles, the results showed that the stated EV range was “on average two times as far off the label value as most EVs.”
The concept of “range anxiety,” the fear of running out of battery charge before reaching a suitable charging station, is a significant obstacle in the path of prospective electric vehicle buyers. An automaker promoting a high-range EV model gains a competitive edge, as it alleviates customer concerns regarding the limitations of EVs.
An insider familiar with the Tesla range issue, quoted by Reuters, disclosed, “Elon wanted to show good range numbers when fully charged.” This revelation underscores the significance of range claims in the EV market and suggests that such claims may have been influenced by strategic decisions at the highest levels of the company.
Tesla’s alleged battery range exaggerations, coupled with the Department of Justice’s investigation, have brought to the forefront a contentious issue in the EV industry, raising questions about the accuracy and transparency of range claims in the electric vehicle market.