Tesla changes S.Korea ads after antitrust probe faulted batteries

Tesla CEO Elon Musk first announced his cunning plan to produce an electric pickup truck back in 2013. Nora Tam/South China Morning Post via Getty Images. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SEOUL, Feb 18, 2022, Reuters. Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) changed an advertisement about the driving range for its Model 3 in South Korea after an antitrust regulator found that the automaker exaggerated the specifications of its batteries, Reuters reported.

The Model 3 sedan description on Tesla’s Korean-language web site was changed to say the vehicle is capable of travelling a “maximum” of 528 kilometres (328 miles) on a single charge, from “more than” 528 kilometres, screen shots captured by local media showed.

The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) this week said it had sent a report to the U.S. electric vehicle (EV) maker stating that it had exaggerated the mileage of some of its models, including Model 3, in violation of the Act on Fair Labeling and Advertising. read more

Analysts said most electric vehicles could generally experience some loss of driving range in cold weather.

“The KFTC plans to give the automaker the opportunity to respond to our finding and then hold a general meeting to review and determine the extent to which the automaker has violated the law and decide the level of sanctions,” said a commission official, asking not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

On its U.S. website, the Model 3 description said: “Go anywhere with “up to” 358 miles of estimated range on a single charge.” That distance equates to about 576km.

The description for Hyundai Motor Co’s (005380.KS) Ioniq 5 midsize crossover also states its range as travelling a “maximum” 429km on a single charge.

Although analysts said driving range labelling should follow each country’s specific guidelines, the KFTC’s claims over Tesla’s mileage advertisement would most likely not have a significant impact on the automaker’s sales in the country, citing Tesla’s dominant position and reputation in the EV market.

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