Tesla is facing potential penalties in Korea for ‘overstating’ the range of its EVs – have they ever heard of ‘your mileage may vary’?

The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) announced that they are weighing potential penalties on Tesla for allegedly “overstating the range” of its electric vehicles. However, the reason for it is questionable, to say the least.

This week, the KFTC confirmed that it sent a report to Tesla claiming that the automaker exaggerated the range of some of its models, including Model 3, which it believes to be a violation of the “Act on Fair Labeling and Advertising.”

A KFTC official told Reuters:

We plan to hold a general meeting to review and determine the extent to which the automaker has violated the law and decide the level of sanctions.

Interestingly, the problem appears to be the drop in range in freezing temperature:

Tesla, on its website, says its Model 3 can travel 528 km (328 miles) on a single charge. The KFTC says however that the range may fall short of that should the temperature drop below freezing.

This is strange because all vehicles experience different efficiency and therefore range based on different conditions – hence the origin of the term “your mileage may vary” even though it has taken a wider use now.

There’s no perfect way to advertise the range of an electric car – countries use different test cycles based on different standards to get an idea of the range and efficiency of specific models.

In the case of South Korea, it uses the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP). That’s what is being used as the advertised range by Tesla and all other automakers.

Electrek’s Take

This doesn’t sound like a Tesla problem, and I hope that they are sending similar reports to other automakers because they all have the same issues. To different degrees, sure, but it’s a problem for all vehicles out there.

Tesla has been doing well in Korea in the last few years, especially since the launch of the Model Y. The Korean EV market would look very different if Tesla wasn’t around, but now several domestic automakers are starting to release more EVs, especially the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6.

Could it have something to do with this situation Tesla finds itself in with the KFTC? I don’t know.

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