Tesla: Facing a Class Action Lawsuit After Software Update
We all remember the shocking footage of the first-generation Tesla blowing up in a parking garage in Shanghai earlier this year. Shortly afterward, Tesla released a "safety and longevity" update for older Model S and X of the same kind. While Tesla has not officially confirmed a correlation to the Shanghai fire, one Tesla owner now filed a lawsuit against the American company.
David Rasmussen kept a close record of his car's battery degradation over time. Right after installing the update, he noticed a significant drop in range at full battery capacity, by far exceeding the normal decline.
As you can see, the car went from a 363-mile range to 335 miles in a very short amount of time. That's almost twice as big of a decline as he had experienced over the last 100,000 miles of driving his car. Discussions in online forums suggested that he wasn't the only Tesla owner who noticed the sudden drop. So, Rasmussen filed a lawsuit with the help of his attorney. According to the news agency Reuters, the lawsuit states the following:
“Under the guise of ‘safety’ and increasing the ‘longevity’ of the batteries of the Class Vehicles, Tesla fraudulently manipulated its software with the intent to avoid its duties and legal obligations to customers to fix, repair, or replace the batteries of the Class Vehicles, all of which Tesla knew were defective, yet failed to inform its customers of the defects.”
The manufacturer responded that "a small percentage of owners of older Model S and X may be experiencing a slight drop in range at full charge after the software update".
Tesla offers an 8-year warranty on the battery packs. And with the first units delivered in June 2012, a lot of batteries will soon no longer be covered anymore.
This lawsuit comes at a very bad time for Tesla. The stocks are just about to recover from their big losses and if Rasmussen is successful, this is going to cost them a tremendous amount of money.
What do you think? Was this a necessary update or just a cheap excuse to avoid a recall? Do you think it's related to the Shanghai fire?