Tesla has been found guilty of throttling the charging speed and battery capacity of cars by a Norwegian court after a software update. The verdict came after at least 30 Tesla car owners filed a complaint with the court, saying the software update in 2019 cut the vehicle's battery life, reduced the range, and increased the time it took to charge. The court has asked Tesla to pay $16,000 (roughly Rs. 11.65 lakhs) each to thousands of owners affected in the country. Since the company didn't immediately respond to the lawsuit, the car owners who were party to the case were awarded $16,000 each automatically.
In June 2019, many people who owned Tesla's Model S cars built between 2013 and 2015 complained that their range dropped significantly following a software update. Back then, the company had said that the update was meant to “protect the battery and improve longevity.” The range dropped after these vehicle owners updated 16.1 and 16.2 software.
According to Norwegian news outlet Nettavisen, Tesla had sold roughly 10,000 Model S cars in Norway, making it a very expensive judgment for the electric carmaker. The verdict was announced on May 17 and Tesla has been ordered to pay by May 31, or appeal the case by June 17.
Electrek reported in 2019 about Tesla owners seeing significant drops in range following the software update. The report had also stated that only Model S and Model X vehicles that were discontinued in 2016 were affected.
According to a report by Forbes, similar lawsuits accusing Tesla have been filed elsewhere. In 2019, a class-action lawsuit was filed in a North California court, claiming the updated software decreased the older car models' range by as much as 40 miles. Tesla, in this complaint, was also accused of manipulating its software with the intention of avoiding legal obligations to customers to fix, repair, or replace the batteries.
Now, Tesla has a few weeks to file an appeal in Norway. If not challenged, the verdict will cost the electric carmaker nearly $160 million (roughly Rs. 1,160 crores) in damages.