Tesla Wildly Overestimated Range and Turned Deaf Ear to Complaints, Allege Reuters
It will surprise precisely zero of our readers to learn that some carmakers apply optimistic range estimates to their electric vehicles. Prior to EVs taking the stage, it also wasn’t uncommon – especially prior to changes in methods at the EPA – for cars with internal combustion powertrains to bear outsized fuel economy ratings thanks to twisted testing protocols.
But, if allegations by Reuters are correct, Tesla went further than that. A lot further.
According to the investigative report, Tesla allegedly not only overstated the total all-electric driving range of their cars but created a so-called ‘Diversion Team’ whose task was to cancel service appointments related to range complaints. If reports are correct, workers assigned to this team would apparently celebrate each cancelled appointment with applause and the striking of a xylophone, prompting this author to see images of Glengarry Glen Ross or Wolf of Wall Street environments flash in front of his eyes. Or Section 31 from Star Trek, your call.
Interviews conducted with people purportedly holding in-the-know information about this ‘Diversion Team’ office describe activities which may make even those fictional characters blush. It is said the crew had a target of closing 750 cases per week, with agents at one point instructed to call a complainant once and close the case if there was no answer. Given wide swaths of the general public tend not to pick up calls from unknown numbers, this ratio was surely quite high.
Further, it is reported that agents were told to stop running remote diagnostics on vehicles belonging to complainants. It is alleged thousands of customers were told their car was fine by workers who had not performed any diagnostics. Sounds like the bad old days of bringing yer faulty car to a dealership only to be told “that’s normal”. If true, perhaps there’s a lot more of overlap between Tesla and the worst characteristics of legacy automakers than fanboys would like to think.
The whole investigation is detailed at this link and is worth a read. To be sure, many EV makers are often accused of exaggerated claims when it comes to driving range – but the level of subterfuge seemingly uncovered here is quite damning.
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- ToolGuy Here is an interesting graphic, if you're into that sort of thing.
- ToolGuy Nice website you got there (even the glitches have glitches)
- Namesakeone Actually, per the IIHS ratings, "Acceptable" is second best, not second worst. The ratings are "Good," "Acceptable," "Marginal" and "Poor."