This is a blow for Tesla. The electric car manufacturer may well have to revise its publicity pitch extolling the merits of autonomous driving in its vehicles. The California Motor Vehicle Agency (DMV) accuses it of lying to consumers about the technology, and has filed suit with a state administrative court, according to news reports released on Friday. As a result of this legal action, Tesla’s stock was down sharply at the close of the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, yielding 6.63% to 864.51 dollars.
According to complaints filed July 28 by the DMV, Tesla ” has made or disseminated statements that are false or misleading, and not based on fact », reports, according to the Los Angeles Times. Tesla cars could never, ” and cannot today operate as autonomous vehicles », according to the document cited by the Californian newspaper. The DMV criticizes Tesla for advertising language that gives these systems broader performance than they actually have. Contacted by AFP, the DMV did not respond immediately.
In June, Tesla boss Elon Musk also stressed the importance of fully autonomous driving for the company, adding that without it, the value of his company would be lost. ” close to zero ».
A victory for the Californian authority against the manufacturer of electric vehicles could have severe consequences, going as far as the revocation of the licenses authorizing Tesla to manufacture or sell its cars in California, further indicates the LA Times. The newspaper specifies that the measures envisaged concern rather the precision of the information that the manufacturer will have to provide to its customers.
273 accidents in the United States
This is not the first time that vehicles equipped with autonomous driving software have been singled out. They have, in fact, been involved in 273 accidents in the United States, according to a report published in June by the American Highway Safety Agency (NHTSA), which is investigating the American manufacturer’s driver assistance system. His report focuses on vehicles with so-called level 2 software, meaning that can make the car accelerate or decelerate and turn the steering wheel if necessary, but requires an attentive driver who is ready to take control back at any time. In total, Tesla models were the subject of nearly 70% of the reports of the 392 accidents listed in this category, for almost all between July 2021 and mid-May 2022, according to the NHTSA.
Caught up by the supply difficulties plaguing the automotive sector, added to the health crisis, Tesla posted a poorer performance in the second quarter than in the previous one. With 254,695 cars delivered between April and June, the manufacturer’s deliveries were down 18%. If this remains better than over the same period a year earlier (+27%), according to the results published in early July, analysts were counting on 264,000 deliveries.