Tesla could be forced to pay out as much as $160 million to Norwegian Tesla owners. This comes after a Norway court ruled a 2019 software update throttled the electric cars’ battery life. This slowed the charging speed.
Dozens of Tesla drivers in Norway complained to the courts after they said a 2019 software update slashed the cars’ battery life. The update also decreased the range and lengthened the time the cars took to charge. This was reported in a Norwegian newspaper, Nettavisen.
The court found the company guilty of throttling the cars’ charging speed and battery life. However, Tesla did not respond to these charges. The court then awarded each of the 30 customers that took part in the lawsuit $16,000 each.
Affected models and expected charges
According to the ruling, Forbes mentioned the update affected Tesla Model S cars built between 2013 and 2015. Roughly 10,000 of these were sold in Norway. Awarding each of those owners the $16,000 ordered by the court would cost the company a whopping $160 million. Similarly, Electrek, a tech page reported in 2019 about Tesla owners seeing significant drops in a range following the software update. The report had also stated that only Model S and Model X vehicles that were discontinued in 2016 were affected.
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According to the complaint, the company “fraudulently manipulated its software with the intent to avoid … legal obligations to customers to fix, repair, or replace the batteries” of the cars. In response, Tesla said in a statement to Electrek the software updates were intended to help “protect the battery and improve battery longevity,” and that only a small fraction of owners “have noticed a small reduction in range when charging.” The same year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began an investigation into Tesla car batteries’ alleged defects that remains open.