In court in Norway, Tesla was found guilty of throttling charging speed and battery capacity through a software update.
Unless it appeals, Tesla is going to have to pay $16,000 to each of the thousands of owners affected in the country. The fine could be even more significant as other similar legal efforts are on the way in other countries.
Back in 2019, Electrek reported on several reports from Tesla owners about seeing significant drops in range from 12 to 30 miles following a software update.
Only Model S and Model X vehicles with 85 kWh battery packs, which were discontinued in 2016, seem to be affected at that point.
For most owners, the range drop happened after updating to Tesla’s 2019.16.1 and .2 software updates.
Tesla owner David Rasmussen was among the ones affected, and he got one of the most severe drops we have seen.
At the time, he told Electrek:
“My 2014 Model S 85 was getting Rated Range of 247 miles until May 13. Now after the next update, it continued to drop to now 217 miles. This is an 11% drop in 5 weeks.”
Rasmussen has been plotting the battery capacity degradation of his Model S over the last 100,000 miles or so, and the drop is quite obvious:
On top of the range loss, the DC fast-charging rate at Supercharger stations has also been reduced. Affected owners are seeing much slower charging sessions.
When Electrek reported on the issue, Tesla told us that the goal of the update is to “protect the battery and improve battery longevity,” and it resulted in a range loss for only “a small percentage of owners.”
This created a lot of confusion among the owners affected by the update who wanted more details about the sudden need to “protect” the battery pack.
It led to a series of lawsuits in different markets for Tesla to compensate the affected owners.
One of those lawsuits was filed in Norway, and the court has now delivered its judgement – finding that Tesla indeed throttled the charging speed with the update.
According to Norway’s Nettavisen, Tesla didn’t respond to the lawsuit and the 30 owners behind the case were automatically awarded 136,000 kroner (~$16,000 USD) each in compensation unless Tesla appeals to the case, which it has a few weeks to do.
There could be over 10,000 Tesla owners affected by the update in Norway alone, which could make the fine quite pricey for the automaker, but more importantly, it could also set the tone for several other similar lawsuits, including one in the US.