And they are ready to sue.
Whether you love or hate Tesla, the manner in which the company is run invites scrutiny from both owners and government officials alike. In fact, Tesla is currently being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration following allegedly overexaggerated claims of the Model 3's safety.
According to a Reuters report, Tesla is now being sued by owners for a separate issue pertaining to one of the company's over-the-air (OTA) updates. These updates often bring new features and various bug fixes but the lawsuit alleges this one purposefully limited the battery range on the Model S and Model X.
The lawsuit was filed in the Northern California federal court, seeking class-action status for potentially "thousands" of older Model S and X owners with car batteries that now have up to 40 fewer miles of range. Tesla reportedly limited the range of the vehicles in question in order to avoid performing a costly recall on possibly defective batteries.
Owners have been livid about the issue on forums such as the Tesla Motors Club because they believe their cars have been devalued by the latest update. Tesla charges a premium for vehicles with greater battery range and this latest update limits the driving range, forcing owners to charge their cars more frequently.
Plaintiff David Rasmussen owns a 2014 Model S 85, which lost a battery capacity equivalent of around 8kWh. Tesla told Rasmussen the loss in range was normal degradation. The company issued a statement on the matter saying, "A very small percentage of owners of older Model S and Model X vehicles may have noticed a small reduction in range when charging to a maximum state of charge following a software update designed to improve battery longevity." It added, we "have been rolling out over-the-air updates to address this issue since last week."
Owners continue to be frustrated by the issue as one Orlando, Florida owner, Nick Smith, notes Tesla has been difficult to reach by phone and by email. "It's as if you take your car to the shop and you have a 20-gallon tank but now you have a 10-gallon tank without your knowledge or permission," Smith said. Tesla batteries are covered by an eight-year warranty, meaning these cars are still Tesla's responsibility.
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