Tesla is fined millions of dollars for false advertising

Tesla has been fined $2.2 million by the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) for false advertising regarding its range.

Last year, we reported on the KFTC launching an investigation into allegations that Tesla violated advertising laws by overstating the range of its electric vehicles.

Korea uses the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), and therefore, Tesla uses the same range as it advertised in most other markets other than in North America, where it uses the EPA-rated range.

However, the KFTC’s main issue appeared to be the range drop in cold weather.

Now, the KFTC has announced that it is imposing a 2.85 billion won ($2.2 million) fine on Tesla for not clearly stating that its range might drop significantly in cold weather.

Following the decision, Tesla has now remedied the situation by adding fine print where the range is displayed on its website:

The new disclosure reads:

Performance and mileage may vary by model. The displayed drivable distance may vary depending on external factors such as speed, weather conditions and road conditions.

That’s an expensive $2.2 million fine print right here.

So far, the new notice appears only on Tesla’s Korean website. Again, Tesla advertises the same WLTP range in most markets outside of North America and China.

Electrek’s Take

There’s no doubt that range drops significantly in most EVs when operated in cold weather. More energy needs to go to the conditioning of the battery pack, and of course, the car also needs to heat the cabin.

I know nothing about Korean advertising laws, so I’m not going to venture into commenting on whether Tesla should have been fined here, but I think that there’s no doubt that there’s plenty of room for automakers, including Tesla, to better communicate how range can be affected by external factors – including temperature.

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