Tesla overestimated the real range of electric cars and struggled with customer complaints

Short description

Summarize this content to 100 words Reuters journalists have found out that Tesla has been overestimating the range of electric cars for several years and is probably still doing it today. A group of specially trained employees worked with customer complaints about power reserve. At the same time, the initiator of such a scheme could be personally the head of the company, Elon Musk.Tesla decided to use false figures to boost sales of electric cars. About ten years ago, the company created special algorithms that calculate the remaining range of an electric car. When the battery is fully charged, they give the driver an optimistic forecast, but when the charge drops below 50%, the numbers become more realistic. At the same time, the system provides a safety buffer, so that the electric car can travel another 24 km even after its battery is discharged.”Ilon wanted to show good numbers when fully charged. When you buy a car in the parking lot, seeing a range of 560-640 km, you feel good,” a source told Reuters. The journalists themselves could not establish whether such algorithms are still used. But they claim that the company has had or continues to have a special scenario of dealing with customer complaints because of the power reserve. When the sale of electric cars increased, so did the demand for maintenance of Tesla cars in service centers. Then the owners had to wait for their turn for up to a month. For diagnostics, they need to make an appointment through a mobile application, and the company realized that some problems can be solved remotely. After that, a “sabotage group” was formed at Tesla’s office in Las Vegas, whose goal was to cancel maintenance appointments. The head of the unit installed a metallophone in the room, which was hit with each canceled recording. The group told customers that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved range estimates were a prediction, not an actual figure, and that batteries would degrade over time. They also advised car owners to change their driving style in order to increase their mileage. When remote diagnostics showed that the car had no malfunctions affecting the range, customers were not informed about this, but their case was closed.With the next update of the mobile application, car owners lost the opportunity to register at service centers if they wanted to complain about the range indicators. They were offered to leave an application so that a company employee would contact the client, but due to the large number of complaints, they had to wait for a call for several days. As a result, the “sabotage group” began to process all complaints about the power reserve (up to 2,000 per week). The team was required to close about 750 of them, and as a result, the application could be canceled even if the customer could not be reached the first time. At the end of 2022, the company’s management prohibited the department’s employees from conducting remote diagnostics. Clients were simply told that no malfunctions were found, and the application was closed. This situation has already attracted the attention of regulators. In South Korea, Tesla was fined $2.2 million for misleading advertising with inflated range figures. The company was also ordered to make changes to a statement on the company’s website about one of the models, which stated that “You can drive 528 km or more on a single charge.” Finally, Tesla representatives demanded a public admission that the company had misled consumers. On June 19, 2023, Musk and two local unit executives issued a statement saying the ad contained “lies/exaggerations.”

Tesla overestimated the real range of electric cars and struggled with customer complaints

Reuters journalists have found out that Tesla has been overestimating the range of electric cars for several years and is probably still doing it today. A group of specially trained employees worked with customer complaints about power reserve. At the same time, the initiator of such a scheme could be personally the head of the company, Elon Musk.

Tesla decided to use false figures to boost sales of electric cars. About ten years ago, the company created special algorithms that calculate the remaining range of an electric car. When the battery is fully charged, they give the driver an optimistic forecast, but when the charge drops below 50%, the numbers become more realistic. At the same time, the system provides a safety buffer, so that the electric car can travel another 24 km even after its battery is discharged.

“Ilon wanted to show good numbers when fully charged. When you buy a car in the parking lot, seeing a range of 560-640 km, you feel good,” a source told Reuters.

The journalists themselves could not establish whether such algorithms are still used. But they claim that the company has had or continues to have a special scenario of dealing with customer complaints because of the power reserve.

When the sale of electric cars increased, so did the demand for maintenance of Tesla cars in service centers. Then the owners had to wait for their turn for up to a month. For diagnostics, they need to make an appointment through a mobile application, and the company realized that some problems can be solved remotely. After that, a “sabotage group” was formed at Tesla’s office in Las Vegas, whose goal was to cancel maintenance appointments. The head of the unit installed a metallophone in the room, which was hit with each canceled recording. The group told customers that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved range estimates were a prediction, not an actual figure, and that batteries would degrade over time. They also advised car owners to change their driving style in order to increase their mileage. When remote diagnostics showed that the car had no malfunctions affecting the range, customers were not informed about this, but their case was closed.

With the next update of the mobile application, car owners lost the opportunity to register at service centers if they wanted to complain about the range indicators. They were offered to leave an application so that a company employee would contact the client, but due to the large number of complaints, they had to wait for a call for several days. As a result, the “sabotage group” began to process all complaints about the power reserve (up to 2,000 per week). The team was required to close about 750 of them, and as a result, the application could be canceled even if the customer could not be reached the first time.

At the end of 2022, the company’s management prohibited the department’s employees from conducting remote diagnostics. Clients were simply told that no malfunctions were found, and the application was closed.

This situation has already attracted the attention of regulators. In South Korea, Tesla was fined $2.2 million for misleading advertising with inflated range figures. The company was also ordered to make changes to a statement on the company’s website about one of the models, which stated that “You can drive 528 km or more on a single charge.” Finally, Tesla representatives demanded a public admission that the company had misled consumers. On June 19, 2023, Musk and two local unit executives issued a statement saying the ad contained “lies/exaggerations.”

Related posts