Tesla is in the sights of the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The institution must determine whether the manufacturer is misleading its customers by promoting Autopilot. A practice that could be deemed to be misleading advertising.
Elon Musk had promised that Tesla vehicles would benefit from 100% autonomous driving in 2021. A promise that the businessman will have a hard time keeping. Proof of this is with an internal document recently revealed by PlainSite. We learn that the functionality is only at stage 2 out of 5. In other words, 100% autonomous driving on Tesla is still far from being topical.
Therefore, the manufacturer is in the sights of the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Which one should determine if Tesla is misleading its customers by promoting autonomous driving. For now, a Tesla with Autopilot (the option costs $ 10,000 per year) can change lanes, take the freeway exit ramps, and stop alone at a red light. On the other hand, she is not yet able to behave entirely on her own. Hence the accusations of false advertising.
Tesla accused of misleading advertising with its Autopilot
Tesla is indeed accused of not being clear in its communication about Autopilot. The manufacturer still specifies on its website that fully autonomous driving “Does not make the car autonomous”. And that a « supervision active » by the driver is imperative. But social media is full of videos showing drivers in the backseat leaving their Tesla to drive itself. Last March, a Model 3 under Autopilot had notably struck a police car violently.
What exacerbate the criticisms against Tesla. Some believe that its fuzzy communication leads to dangerous behavior in some drivers. If the latter are obviously legally responsible for their actions, Tesla could be accused of false advertising. In the event that the DMV considers that the firm is cheating on its customers, it risks the suspension or revocation of its licenses to deploy its autonomous vehicles in California.
Last July, a Munich court ruled that Tesla had misled consumers about the real capabilities of autopilot. Its German subsidiary then had to withdraw the mention “Autopilot” in favor of “Autodrive” in its advertisements and on its site.