The California Automobile Agency (DMV) is accusing Tesla of lying to consumers about its autonomous driving technologies and has filed a lawsuit in the state’s administrative court, according to reports released Friday.
Tesla “has made or distributed statements that are false or misleading and not based on fact,” according to the July 28 DMV complaints, according to the Los Angeles Times.
According to the document cited by the California newspaper, Tesla vehicles never could and “today cannot operate as autonomous vehicles.”
DMV criticizes Tesla for advertising language that gives these systems better performance than they really are. Contacting AFP, the DMV did not respond immediately.
The California authorities’ victory over the electric car maker could have serious consequences, up to the revocation of licenses allowing Tesla to manufacture or sell its cars in California, the LA Times further points out, specifying that the measures envisaged relate more to the accuracy of the information that the manufacturer will have to provide to its customers.
273 accidents in the USA
In June, Tesla CEO Elon Musk emphasized the importance of fully autonomous driving for the company, adding that without it, the value of his company would be “close to zero.”
Tesla shares fell sharply at the close of the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, falling 6.63% to $864.51.
Tesla vehicles equipped with self-driving software have been involved in 273 crashes in the US, according to a June report from the US Highway Traffic Safety Agency (NHTSA), which is investigating the US manufacturer’s driver assistance system.
His report focuses on cars with what’s called Level 2 software, which means the car can accelerate or slow down and turn the steering wheel if needed, but requires an attentive driver ready to take back control at a moment’s notice.
In total, Tesla models were the subject of nearly 70% of the 392 crash reports listed in this category, almost all between July 2021 and mid-May 2022, according to NHTSA.