South Korean regulator fines Tesla US$2.2-million for exaggerating driving range of EVs

A Tesla sign in Taipei, Taiwan, in an August 11, 2017 file photo.TYRONE SIU/Reuters

South Korea’s antitrust regulator said it would fine Tesla Inc TSLA-Q 2.85 billion won ($2.2 million) for failing to inform customers about the shorter range of the car. its low-temperature electric vehicles (EVs).

The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) said that Tesla had exaggerated the “ranges of its cars on a single charge, their fuel efficiency compared to gasoline-powered vehicles, and the performance of its Superchargers” on its local official website since august. 2019 until recently.

The range of the U.S. electric vehicle maker’s cars dips in cold weather by up to 50.5% compared to how they are advertised online, the KFTC said in a statement on Tuesday.

Tesla could not immediately be reached for comment.

On its website, Tesla provides tips for winter driving, such as preconditioning vehicles with external power sources and using its updated Energy app to monitor energy consumption, but does not mention loss of autonomy at sub-zero temperatures.

In 2021, Citizens United for Consumer Sovereignty, a South Korean consumer group, said the range of most electric vehicles drops by up to 40% in cold weather when the batteries need to be heated, with Tesla suffering the most. citing data from the country. Minister of the Environment.

Last year, the KFTC fined German automaker Mercedes-Benz and its Korean unit 20.2 billion won for false advertising related to the gas emissions of its diesel passenger vehicles.

The challenge of EV performance in extreme temperatures is widely known, although EVs are popular in markets like Norway, where four out of five vehicles sold last year were battery-powered, led by Tesla.

A 2020 study of 4,200 connected electric vehicles of all brands by Canadian telematics provider Geotab found that most models had a similar drop in range in cold weather, mainly because the battery is also used to heat the car. for driver and passengers.

At just over 20 degrees Celsius, the average VE exceeded its stated range, but at minus 15 degrees, the average VE was only 54% of its rated range, according to the study.

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