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S. Korea fines Tesla $2.2 million for overstating driving range of EVs

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Jung Yeon-Je/AFP via Getty Images

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    The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) announced that a 2.85 billion won (approximately $2.2 million) fine would be imposed on Tesla for exaggerating the range of their vehicles in low temperatures on their official website. 

    On Tuesday, the KFTC released a statement claiming that the driving range of Tesla’s vehicles can drop by up to 50.5 percent in cold weather compared to how they are advertised on the electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer’s official local website, reported Reuters.

    Along with the exaggerated driving range, the KFTC also stated that Tesla’s “fuel cost-effectiveness compared to gasoline vehicles as well as the performance of its Superchargers” had also been overstated since August 2019 until recently. 

    While Tesla’s website provides users with tips for driving in the winter, such as preconditioning and defrosting the vehicle before departure and keeping track of energy consumption through the Energy app, it does not warn drivers about the decreased driving range in cold temperatures. 

    Last year, Mercedes-Benz and its Korean unit were also fined by the KFTC for false advertisement regarding gas emissions of its diesel vehicles. 

    Since a portion of battery power is utilized for heating the car, most EV models see a similar plunge in driving ranges during cold weather, as indicated by a 2020 study from telematic provider Geotab of 4,200 EVs of all makes. 

    The study discovered that regardless of make or model, most EVs perform similarly in extreme temperatures; both cold and hot temperatures affect driving range, but colder climates have a greater impact. 

    At optimal temperatures, EVs are performing better than their rated range, peaking at 115% at 21.5 C or 70 F. So, most EV owners are exceeding the rated range of the vehicle in peak temperature conditions. As you turn up or down the temperature, however, the loss of range is apparent. At -15 C (5 F), EVs drop to 54% of their rated range, meaning a car that is rated for 250 miles (402 km) will only get on average 135 miles (217 km).

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