A group of Tesla Model S and Model X owners in the United States filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against Tesla in California. The lawsuit alleges that automatic software updates implemented by Tesla have resulted in decreased driving range or battery failures, which violates state and federal laws.
According to the lawsuit, these updates can potentially reduce driving range by up to 20% and may require some owners to replace their batteries at a significant cost of $15,000. At the time of the news report, Tesla had not yet provided a response to the lawsuit.
The legal action was filed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, with the claim that the affected Tesla vehicles should be considered “protected computers” as defined by the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The lawsuit argues that the automatic updates infringe upon consumers’ rights under the law.
Steve Berman, an attorney representing the Tesla owners and lessors in the lawsuit, stated that Tesla owners have limited control over their vehicles since the company imposes software updates without obtaining their consent whenever the vehicle is connected to Wi-Fi.
The attorneys representing the owners highlight that other automakers generally notify customers in advance when a software update is planned. However, Tesla has the ability to issue automatic updates whenever the vehicle is connected to Wi-Fi. The lawsuit also mentions that some Tesla owners have paid third-party companies between $500 and $750 to reverse battery-related software updates.
The legal complaint alleges that Tesla’s updates and their resulting effects violate not only the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act but also the California Unfair Competition Law and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act. The attorneys claim that Tesla denies reimbursement to Model S and Model X owners and lessors who experience reduced battery capacity following a software update.
This lawsuit comes after a previous settlement in July 2021, where Tesla agreed to pay $1.9 million to resolve claims that a software update temporarily reduced maximum battery voltage in around 1,743 Model S sedans. As part of the settlement, owners received compensation of $625 each, which was significantly higher than the prorated value of the temporarily reduced maximum voltage.