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Judge Acknowledges Tesla Customers’ Allegations of Intentional Decrease in Car Battery Longevity

Tesla owners now have the option to pursue claims that the company intentionally reduced the battery power of their electric vehicles, despite the judge refraining from issuing an injunction.

Allegations in Oakland, California, suggest that Tesla intentionally released performance updates that negatively impacted the batteries of Model S and X vehicles across multiple states.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar has allowed certain class claims to move forward in the lawsuit brought by car owners who assert that Tesla implemented software updates to degrade their vehicles’ battery life without their consent.

Judge Tigar acknowledged that the plaintiffs sufficiently claimed that Tesla knowingly rolled out software modifications that immediately affected the batteries of many cars without permission.

Although the judge dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims of unfair competition and their plea to stop performance updates during the legal proceedings, he underscored the compensable nature of past and potential future battery damages through financial restitution.

Judge Tigar highlighted the absence of evidence concerning Tesla’s future practices and whether security protocols were breached in the software updates, particularly for users who willingly installed the updates.

In terms of common law trespass claims under various state laws, Tesla’s efforts to dismiss most claims were unsuccessful, except for those originating in Texas.

The judge touched on the choice of law matters, indicating that such issues should be addressed during the class certification phase due to the specific nature of the investigation.

The plaintiffs are granted 21 days to submit a revised complaint; otherwise, the dismissed claims will be permanently discarded.

Currently, representatives from both sides have refrained from offering comments on the issue.

In a filing dated July 27, 2023, Tesla contended that the plaintiffs had not proven how the company overcame technical barriers or engaged in misrepresentation or fraud during the software updates on owners’ vehicles.