Tesla Fined for Limiting Battery Range

One court ordered the automaker to pay affected Tesla owners $16,000 each.

A court found the automaker guilty of cutting back on vehicles’ ranges and charging speeds — and the penalties could add up quickly.

Two years ago, reports began circulating about Tesla owners who saw the range of their vehicles decline after one of the electric vehicle maker’s routine over-the-air software updates.

Drivers complained that they lost anywhere from 12 to 30 miles per charge — a more than 10% drop in range, in some cases — and experienced much slower charging at Tesla’s Supercharger fast-charging stations.

The issues prompted consumer lawsuits in a number of countries, and the EV maker could be on the hook for a significant chunk of change if the results from an initial case are any indication.

Electrek reports that a court in Norway found Tesla guilty of throttling charging speeds and battery capacity, and that because the company did not respond to the filing, the court automatically ordered Tesla to pay the 30 plaintiffs in the case $16,000 each.

Tesla could still speak up in that case — it reportedly has a few weeks to appeal the decision — but if the award stands, the company could be forced to pay that amount to other Tesla owners in Norway, where government incentives have fueled electric vehicle sales that match or even exceed those of gas-powered cars. The number of Tesla owners in the wealthy Nordic country could reportedly number more than 10,000.

Meanwhile, lawsuits elsewhere — including a class-action filing in California — could also add to Tesla’s tab.

Tesla told Electrek in 2019 that the update in question sought to protect vehicle batteries and improve their longevity, and that only a small number of vehicles were impacted. Given that millions of dollars in penalties could be on the line, it seems like it might be worth giving drivers a bit of a heads-up next time.

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