Tesla agrees to pay US$1.5mil to settle claims over battery voltage reduction

By REUTERS | 30 July 2021

SAN FRANCISCO: Tesla Inc has agreed to pay US$1.5 million (RM6.4mil) to settle claims a software update temporarily reduced maximum battery voltage in 1,743 Model S sedans, court documents show.

Owners of the vehicles will get US$625 (RM2,646) each, which is "many times the prorated value of the temporarily reduced maximum voltage," according to the proposed settlement documents filed Wednesday in US District Court in San Francisco.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lawyers for the owners who sued said the "voltage limitation was temporary, with a 10% reduction lasting about 3 months, and a smaller 7% reduction lasting another 7 months before the corrective update was released in March 2020."

A US judge set a Dec 9 hearing on the proposed settlement.

The suit filed in August 2019 alleged Tesla released an over-the-air software update that reduced the maximum voltage to which batteries on some Tesla Model S vehicles could be charged.

A subsequent update restored about 3% of the battery voltage in these vehicles, and a third update released in March 2020 was designed to fully restore the batteries’ voltage over time as the vehicles are driven, the settlement documents said.

Company data shows 1,552 vehicles had maximum battery voltage fully restored and 57 have had battery replacements and for other vehicles the maximum voltage should continue to be restored over time, the settlement documents said.

The US$1.5 million settlement includes US$410,000 (RM1.8mil) fees and costs for the plaintiffs' attorneys.