Some U.S. owners of Tesla’s Model S and Model X have reportedly filed a class-action lawsuit against the California-based electric automaker after automatic software updates in their cars reportedly reduced range or Caused batteries to fail in some cases. The lawsuit claims the updates and their effects violate state and federal laws.
The software update reduced range by as much as 20 percent and required some owners to replace batteries at a cost of $15,000, the lawsuit said. A lawyer for the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, who filed the lawsuit, alleges that the electric automaker makes software updates without the owner’s consent as long as the vehicle is connected to Wi-Fi.
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Typically, automakers notify customers when they want to perform a software update, but Tesla can issue automatic updates when the vehicle is connected to Wi-Fi, the lawyers noted. The suit also mentions that some Tesla owners have paid third parties between $500 and $750 to reverse battery-related software updates on their vehicles.
The suit considers Tesla vehicles “protected computers” under the definition outlined in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the automatic updates as a violation of consumers’ legal rights. It also noted that Tesla has refused to offer compensation to owners of affected Model S and Model X vehicles whose batteries had lost capacity after a software update.
In a similar case in July 2021, Tesla agreed to pay $1.9 million, including about $400,000 in attorneys’ fees and expenses, to settle claims that a software update temporarily lowered the maximum battery voltage in 1,743 Model S sedans. Owners received $625 each. It’s unclear, though, whether owners of the cars in the current lawsuit will receive such compensation.
(Input from Reuters)
First published date: May 14, 2023 at 14:58 PM CST