Report: Tesla Created Secret Team to Suppress Thousands of Driving Range Complaints

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Filed under Automotive, EV News, News, Tesla

An extensive report released by Reuters reveals that Tesla created a “Diversion Team” based in Las Vegas to suppress thousands of customer complaints about poor driving range in its electric vehicles (EVs). The report outlines that it was the team’s goal to cancel as many range-related service appointments as possible to ease the burden on service centers. Supposedly, Tesla had exaggerated its EVs’ potential driving distances by rigging their range-estimating software to show optimistic projections for range when fully charged but more realistic estimates below 50% battery charge. The directive to present optimistic range estimates reportedly came from Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk.

The creation of the diversion team and Tesla’s intentional inflation of in-dash range-meter projections had not been previously reported. Several experts and regulators have flagged Tesla for exaggerating its vehicles’ range estimates, and the company was fined by South Korean regulators for delivering cars with as little as half their advertised range in cold weather. Data collected by a Seattle-based EV analytics company indicated that Tesla’s range meters did not adjust for external temperatures, often overestimating driving range.

While Tesla is not the only automaker with cars failing to achieve advertised ranges, it was found to be the most aggressive in its range calculations. The company conducts additional range tests, which might produce more favorable estimates than using the EPA’s standard formula, as adopted by other automakers.

Tesla’s diversion team used tactics to discourage customers from booking service appointments for range complaints. They often used remote diagnostics to claim that the vehicles were in good health and canceled appointments or failed to respond to customers’ concerns. Recently, the team’s operations moved to an office in Utah.

Alexandre Ponsin, a Tesla owner, experienced similar issues with his Model 3’s range but found that his concerns were not addressed adequately by the company. He realized that the problem was likely due to Tesla overstating its performance and now has tempered his expectations about the car’s range, especially in very cold weather.

While such a report is rather damning for Tesla and consumers, we’re not sure what the public’s reaction will be. We urge everyone to check out the full report at Reuters here and draw your own conclusion. HOpefully there will be some definitive answers to such alleged actions.


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