South Korea fines Tesla $2.2 million for exaggerating driving range of EVs

South Korea will fine Tesla $2.2 million for not telling customers that its EVs had a shorter driving range in lower temperatures

January 03, 2023 01:22 pm | Updated 03:32 pm IST - SEOUL

A file photo of Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

A file photo of Tesla CEO Elon Musk. | Photo Credit: Reuters

South Korea's antitrust regulator said it would impose a 2.85 billion won ($2.2 million) fine on Tesla Inc. for failing to tell its customers about the shorter driving range of its electric vehicles (EVs) in low temperatures.

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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 U.S. 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 on Tuesday.

Tesla could not be immediately reached for comment.

On its website, Tesla provides winter driving tips, such as 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.

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.

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

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