Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) has been slapped with a lawsuit from owners of its Model S and Model X over an over-the-air (OTA) update that they say purposefully limited the battery range on their cars. One owner of a 2014 Model S 85 claims the vehicle lost a battery capacity equivalent of around 8kWh, resulting in nearly 40 fewer miles of range. The lawsuit was filed in the Northern California federal court.
The update in question was reportedly to bring new features and various bug fixes to the affected models. Tesla rolled out a software update in May after a couple of high-profile fires in China. However, owners of older Model S and X vehicles are saying that the update caused their cars to lose battery capacity. Tesla apparently told one owner that the loss in range was normal degradation.
After reports began to emerge of the issue, Tesla issued a statement on the matter, saying, “A very small percentage of owners of older Model S and Model X vehicles may have noticed a small reduction in range when charging to a maximum state of charge following a software update designed to improve battery longevity.” The company says that it has been rolling out over-the-air updates to address the issue since last week.
While Model 3’s warranty specifies a level of diminished capacity at which the pack would be considered defective, Models S and X don’t. Tesla batteries are covered by an eight-year warranty, meaning that many of the cars affected are still Tesla’s responsibility. The plaintiffs in the case are seeking class-action status for potentially “thousands” of older Model S and X owners with car batteries that now have been devalued by the latest update.