Tesla has agreed to pay 1.5 million dollars to settle a 2019-lawsuit accusing the electric carmaker of having reduced the range of some vehicles via a software update. 1,743 Model S vehicles were affected, and Elon Musk just admitted the mistake on Twitter.
The lawsuit began about two years ago when Tesla said it was trying to fix potential issues following a fire in a Model S in Hong Kong. The company then installed a software update in some Model S and Model X, which, according to plaintiff David Rasmussen, had only helped the manufacturer avoid costly battery recall.
The software update also led to range losses due to reduced maximum voltage to which batteries on some Tesla Model S vehicles could be charged. Tesla said at the time, the update was to improve battery life.
A judge now found the allegations to be true and ordered Tesla to pay 1.5 million dollars to owners of the affected vehicles. They will get $625 each, which is “many times the prorated value of the temporarily reduced maximum voltage,” according to the proposed settlement documents filed in San Francisco.
A later update restored about 3% of the battery voltage in these vehicles. A third update released in March 2020 was designed to fully restore the batteries’ voltage over time as the vehicles are driven, the settlement documents said.
Company data shows 1,552 vehicles had maximum battery voltage fully restored, and 57 have had battery replacements. For other vehicles, the maximum voltage should continue to be restored over time, said the documents.
While Tesla initially made no comment on the ruling, Elon Musk has now admitted the error on Twitter. “If we are wrong, we are wrong. In this case, we were,” the Tesla boss said.
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