Tesla Fined for Exaggerated Winter Range Claims

Tesla has been fined $2.2M by South Korean regulators for exaggerating the range of its electric vehicles during winter.

Reuters reports that the nation’s antitrust regulator said it would impose the fine on Tesla for failing to tell its customers about the shorter driving range of its electric vehicles in low temperatures. The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) said that Tesla had exaggerated the “driving ranges of its cars on a single charge, their fuel cost-effectiveness compared to gasoline vehicles as well as the performance of its Superchargers” on its official local website since August 2019 until recently.

The driving range of the US EV manufacturer’s cars plunge in cold weather by up to 50.5% versus how they are advertised online, the KFTC said in a statement. Tesla has yet to make a comment.

Journalists have long mistrusted automaker driving efficiencies whether ICE or BEV recording wildly different returns in on road testing. British journalist Neil Winton has compiled his own assessments of BEV real-world ranges versus the automakers’ claims. His findings reveal that Tesla is not the only manufacturer grossly overstating their electric products ranges.

Winter driving tips on Tesla’s website suggest pre-conditioning vehicles with external power sources and using its updated Energy app to monitor energy consumption but does not mention the loss of driving range in sub-zero temperatures. Many other BEV manufacturers install complex battery pack management systems to mitigate the affect on range through extreme cold or hot weather conditions.

However, in 2021, Citizens United for Consumer Sovereignty, a South Korean consumer group, said the driving range of most EVs drop by up to 40% in cold temperatures when batteries need to be heated, with Tesla suffering the most, citing data from the country’s environment ministry.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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