After launching its Model S and X vehicles, Tesla made a software update in 2019. An update that decreased the speed and autonomy of these two models. Unhappy, some Norwegian customers decided to file a complaint against the group. They won their case and Tesla is ordered to pay them nearly 13,000 euros each.
The Norwegians are not at their first attempt in legal proceedings against Tesla. They had already sued the group in 2016 and then in 2018, and always won. Thus, every time Tesla communicates claims that they find erroneous, these customers do not miss an opportunity to complain.
Norway is one of Tesla's biggest markets. For this reason, the group decided to compensate the complainants individually in 2018. Its goal was to not lose face because of a few protocol customers. However, this method of settlement was chosen again in 2021 and could cost Tesla dearly this time.
According to the facts, it is about thirty owners of the Model S 85 and Model X 85 manufactured between 2013 and 2015 who sued Tesla. They accuse the latter of having greatly reduced the autonomy and speed of the batteries during the last updates. To explain itself, Tesla claimed that its new settings are only in the interest of the batteries.
The Norwegian court that was seized by the plaintiffs made a decision in their favor. The court ruled that Tesla did the right thing by making updates to make the vehicles fit better. However, it argues that the improvements made by the carmaker should not reduce the performance of the cars.
In fact, the 2019.16.1 and 2019.16.2 updates decreased the charging speed and range of the Model S 85 or X 85. According to Tesla's explanations, this change was intended to increase the lifespan of the cars. An explanation rejected by the Norwegian authorities, as one of the customers was able to demonstrate that the vehicles lost their range by 11%.
According to the disgruntled people, the range of the battery was initially 400 km. However, after the changes, it dropped to 50 km, or even 20 km in some cases. To compensate the 30 customers, the court ordered Tesla to pay them a sum of 136,000 kroner each. That's about 13,000 that each plaintiff will receive to compensate for this loss of performance.
Moreover, this judgment is the worst the carmaker could have hoped for. If other Norwegian customers also go to court, Tesla's update could cost it much more.
The models currently in dispute have sold 10,000 units in Norway. If all the owners were to claim compensation, the group could have to pay nearly 130,000,000 euros. This is without counting the customers in other countries who will think of taking their respective courts to seek similar compensation.