Tesla owners ‘uniquely at the mercy’ of carmaker, says attorney in lawsuit alleging software updates drained or killed expensive batteries

Tesla owners ‘uniquely at the mercy’ of carmaker, says attorney in lawsuit alleging software updates drained or killed expensive batteries

Elon Musk’s software program experience has helped Tesla outsmart different carmakers. Whereas rivals may have to convey tons of of hundreds of automobiles into outlets for recall repairs, Tesla can typically repair related points by way of an over-the-air software program replace. 

However in accordance with a class-action lawsuit filed Friday in California, software program updates have drained or rendered inoperable costly batteries for some homeowners. The swimsuit states:

“When automotive homeowners buy their automobiles, they moderately count on that unexpected occasions—like climate, accidents, or flat tires—might affect the efficiency of their automobiles and result in pricey repairs. However no cheap shopper would count on that the automotive producer itself, by an automatic system, would intentionally and considerably intervene with the automotive’s efficiency by software program updates that cut back the working capability of the automobiles. However that’s exactly what Tesla has completed right here.”

In keeping with the swimsuit, Tesla’s automated software program updates have, with out warning, depleted the battery in Mannequin S and Mannequin X automobiles, decreasing the driving vary by no less than 20%. “Automobile homeowners will likely be compelled to pay a 3rd celebration a major price ($500-$750) to reverse the software program replace in order that the automotive homeowners might proceed to expertise the battery efficiency that they had earlier than the replace,” the swimsuit states.

In some circumstances, the software program updates “will render the batteries inoperable, and automotive homeowners have to buy a brand new battery at a price of as much as $15,000,” it provides.

In July 2021, Tesla agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle claims that certainly one of its software program updates briefly decreased the battery’s charging pace, most capability, and vary briefly for greater than 1,700 Mannequin S homeowners, in accordance with CNBC. 

Hagens Berman lawyer Steve Berman, who’s representing Tesla homeowners and lessors within the present lawsuit, informed Fox Information, “Tesla homeowners and lessors are uniquely on the mercy of the maker of their vehicles, and Tesla imposes software program updates with out consent at any time when their automobile is related to Wi-Fi.” 

The lawsuit provides: “Tesla homeowners connect with Tesla instantly by way of Wi-Fi from their houses or companies, and Tesla can then push software program updates onto the automobiles, with out the chance to consent to the updates or ask questions concerning the updates. And Plaintiffs definitely didn’t consent to updates that hurt the efficiency of their automobiles.”

Tesla states on its web site: “Over-the-air software program updates introduce new options and updates to your automobile—making your automobile safer and extra succesful over time.”

Fortune reached out to Tesla for feedback concerning the lawsuit however obtained no speedy reply.

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