Tesla Exaggerates EV Range and Shuts Down Customer Complaints, Report Says

It’s not exactly what you’d call customer service.

Originally Published: 
Tesla EV in an aerodynamics test.

Oftentimes, the real-world EV range doesn’t line up with the optimistic range that automakers brag about. But in Tesla’s case, it’s sometimes half as much the range as advertised, according to a Reuters report.

The mismatch in expected range and the range actually delivered by Tesla EVs has become such an issue that Tesla reportedly created a special team whose purpose is to cancel service appointments from owners who complained about discrepancies.

It’s worth noting Tesla’s EVs occupy several spots on the list of longest-range EVs with its latest Model S offering a 405-mile EPA-estimated range and its other models offering an EPA-estimated 330 miles.


According to the Reuters report, the problem stems from Tesla’s algorithms for its range meter that’s displayed to drivers. When on a fully charged battery, the algorithm reportedly presents an optimistic projection for how long you can drive. It’s not until you get to below 50 percent charge that the algorithm gives you a more realistic projection, which sometimes plummets from the earlier range estimates, according to the report.

Tesla’s range projections may be far too optimistic.


Reuters’ source is a “person familiar with an early design of the software for its in-dash readouts,” who also claims that the call to present these exaggerated range estimates came from Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk. Still, Tesla EVs would reportedly have about 15 miles of additional range once the readout showed an empty battery, so you won’t be left completely stranded.

Reuters’ report is backed by the recent scrutiny from the South Korean government claiming that Tesla failed to notify its customers about shorter driving ranges in colder temps. Recurrent, an EV analytics company out of Seattle, also says that Tesla’s range meters don’t factor in external temps when providing its range projections.



What’s even more damning is that Tesla reportedly created a team to shut down any customers who complained about low-range numbers. The team was tasked with canceling the appointments of customers who scheduled service appointments to look into why their range was so low. According to the Reuters report, this special team at Tesla closed hundreds of cases a week.

For anyone considering buying a Tesla, the Reuters report should cast some doubt on that decision. Every EV is bound to have a more modest range when dealing with real-world scenarios like cold temps, hills, or if you have the need for speed, but it’s another thing entirely to make that real-life range into a real-life coverup.

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