Tesla owners file lawsuit over software updates reducing range and damaging batteries

A proposed class-action lawsuit was filed in California on Friday by a group of U.S. Tesla Model S and Model X owners against the electric vehicle maker over automatic software updates that reportedly decreased driving range or caused battery failures. The lawsuit claims that Tesla’s updates and their effects violate state and federal laws because they can cut driving range by up to 20% and can require some owners to replace batteries at a cost of $15,000.

Filed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, the lawsuit argues that impacted Tesla vehicles are “protected computers” under the definition outlined in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and that automatic updates violate consumers’ rights under the law. Attorneys for the owners say automakers generally notify customers when they want to perform a software update, but Tesla can issue automatic updates whenever the vehicle is connected to Wi-Fi.

In addition, according to the lawsuit, some Tesla owners have reportedly paid third parties between $500 and $750 to undo battery-related software updates. The attorneys representing Tesla owners and lessors claim that the automaker refuses to reimburse Model S and Model X owners and lessors who suffer from decreased battery capacity due to a software update.

A legal complaint has been filed alleging that Tesla’s updates and their resulting impacts infringe upon the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the California Unfair Competition Law, and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act. At the time of writing, there has been no response from Tesla regarding the matter.

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