Tesla deliberately inflated the distance a vehicle could travel on a full battery charge, and the company did so under a directive from its CEO Elon Musk, according to a new report from Reuters.
More than a decade ago, the outlet reports, Tesla made the decision to design an algorithm that would provide drivers with a “rosy” estimate of how far their vehicle could go without having to recharge its battery.
The anonymous source who informed Reuters’ report said that once a Tesla vehicle’s battery hit the 50 percent mark, those “rosy” estimates would change into a more accurate depiction of how much further the Tesla had to go before needing a charge.
“Elon wanted to show good range numbers when fully charged,” the source said.
Drivers were provided with an additional 15 miles of leeway once the Tesla’s dashboard showed the battery was at zero percent.
“Range anxiety” is a common obstacle for electric vehicle sales, according to the report. So, showcasing a high driving range would be a positive factor to highlight in a vehicle.
Thousands of Tesla customers reported the inaccurate driving range projections that they experienced in their vehicle, concerned that something was wrong with their car. However, as previously explained, the Tesla driving range meter was intentionally developed this way.
So many Tesla owners attempted to schedule service appointments for their vehicle due to this perceived issue that the company set up a “Diversion Team.” Employees on this team were tasked with canceling as many of these driving range related service appointments as possible. The Diversion Team was told that every appointment that was canceled saved the company around $1,000.
Tesla has been called out for its inflated estimates before. The company has previously been fined $2.2 million in South Korea for inflated range estimates when driving in cold weather. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also ordered Tesla to reduce their estimates by 3 percent for six different car models.