Tesla accused of exaggerating range and cancelling service appointments

A new report from Reuters is alleging that Tesla deliberately programmed its car’s computers to exaggerate the range on a single charge and even canceled service appointments for customers who complained about the inaccurate range estimates.

According to the report, insiders within Tesla claim that about 10 years ago the range-estimating software was rigged to show an exaggerated projection of how far the cars could go when they were close to fully charged. However, once the battery level dropped below 50%, the dashboard would re-adjust to a more realistic projection. This idea reportedly came directly from CEO, Elon Musk, according to one of the employees.

One issue highlighted in the report is that the range estimates displayed in the cars did not take into account external factors such as extreme weather conditions, hilly terrain, headwinds, or the use of air conditioning.

There have been numerous studies conducted on EV range, and in one of them cited in the report, which looked at 21 different brands of EVs, the three Tesla models that were tested reportedly fell short of their range estimates by an average of 26%.

That compares with a recent range test in which the Model S exceeded its range rating, able to travel 672km (417 miles) through the Norwegian countryside.

According to the report, Tesla also tried to cover up the issue. When customers complained that their actual range did not match the estimates and tried to schedule service appointments, employees allegedly followed a directive to inform customers that “remote diagnostics” had been performed and subsequently canceled the appointments. The report also claimed that Tesla established a specialized “diversion team” based in Las Vegas solely to handle customer complaints about the inaccurate range estimates.

It is unclear whether the alleged algorithms for range estimation are still in use, but Tesla has faced criticism for similar issues in the past. Last year the South Korean government fined Tesla $2.2 million earlier for exaggerating the range of its vehicles in cold weather.

Tesla has not issued a statement in response to the report.

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