This is a big victory for those who own Teslas built since 2016.
A US judge has ordered Tesla to perform a free upgrade of the self-driving computer in a customer's Model 3 in order to allow him to have Full-Self Driving without having to pay extra. According to Electrek, the customer, Ian Jordan, bought a new Model 3 a few years ago with the understanding it had FSD hardware. It did, but not the upgraded version.
Here's the backstory: Tesla claimed that vehicles built since 2016 come equipped with the necessary hardware for FSD and related future upgrades. However, the automaker spoke too soon and had to go back and upgrade the hardware in those vehicles, specifically the onboard computer.
To make up for the mistake, Tesla offered a free computer retrofit for those who ordered the Full Self-Diving package. Fair enough. Customers were happy.
But last year, Tesla launched its FSD $199 per month subscription package as an alternative to the full package, which now costs a hefty $15,000. At the same time, Tesla changed its policy and requested customers to pony up $1,500 for the computer swap, though it was later reduced to $1,000.
Jordan decided he wanted the FSD that had been released in North America for his post-2016 Model 3 but was told he needed to pay an extra $1,106 to upgrade the 2.5 computer to the latest 3.0 hardware.
He complained to the carmaker this was a case of false advertising. Tesla basically ignored him, so he took the matter to small claims court in Washington State. Fortunately for him, Tesla didn't even bother to show up for the court date, so he automatically won.
It probably wouldn't have mattered in the end because the judge's ruling stated the following:
"Furthermore, Plaintiff purchased a second Tesla Model 3, relying on advertisement from the company that all Tesla 3 models come with all the necessary hardware for self-driving. Defendant learned that, in fact, installing the self-driving function would cost $1,106 in further hardware upgrades in violation of Tesla's false advertising."
Jordan is also the owner of an older Model 3, and he made another claim against the company over the lost functionality of the car's MCU1 media unit, despite it still being under warranty. Tesla claims it couldn't fix the problem and recommended he upgrade (and pay) for the latest MCU2 upgrade. The judge also ruled this as a breach of warranty and ordered Tesla to pay Jordan $1,657.50 for the new computer upgrade plus $500 for the loss of the AM radio, a feature the MCU2 system does not allow.
Jordan said Tesla has already paid what the judge ordered.