- owners of some older tesla model s and model x evs in norway reported degraded battery range and charging times following a 2019 software update.
- tesla is being ordered to pay the owners the equivalent of $16,000 each, and it's not the first time the ev maker has been fined in norway.
- a similar class-action case is pending in the u.s.
tonight, on "unsolved software updates," a mysterious battery drain appears out of nowhere in norway. one day, owners of older model s sedans wake up to find their sleek american evs dropping range and taking longer to charge. is this just normal battery age and stress in one of the coldest climates on earth? no, forbrukerklageutvalget (consumer complaints committee)! according to norwegian authorities, it's a case of new software intentionally slowing down older hardware.
electrek reports that norway's equivalent of the federal trade commission is ordering tesla to pay roughly 10,000 owners whose vehicles allegedly degraded after a 2019 software update. the affected vehicles include the 2016 model s p85d—the same car, when new, that norway revealed was not making its advertised 691 horsepower—and the model x p85d. once the fastest, longest-range, and priciest tesla trim on sale, the p85d appeared to lose range and take significantly longer to charge immediately following the update, according to electrek. tesla sends and installs software updates automatically to every car.
exact declines are unknown, but remember how one generation of ipads and iphones suddenly slowed to a crawl and lost power after an apple software update? the new apple software was supposed to preserve an older device's battery but instead made the devices randomly slow and shut off. that update cost apple $113 million to settle last year.
tesla owners in the u.s. have reported similar concerns as norwegian owners had on the same cars, according to electrek, and one californian initiated a class-action lawsuit against the automaker months after the update, which is still pending. but u.s. tesla owners haven't gotten a penny.
in a few months, unless tesla responds to prove otherwise, norwegian owners will be receiving the equivalent of $16,000 for their troubles. (in 2016, norway forced tesla to pay these p85d owners nearly $8000 each for their cars' horsepower deficit.) when this software update rolled out, tesla had the most consumer complaints of any automaker in norway, according to the los angeles times. norwegians also buy teslas—and evs in general—at some of the highest rates of any country.
all this is to say: if you apply a software update and find your car, phone, or other digital device is now worse off, you're not crazy. if you are in norway, you could contact the forbrukerklageutvalget. otherwise, record the evidence and submit a fraud claim to the ftc, which has the real power to investigate the next unsolved software update.