Norwegians Sue Tesla Because Their Cars Are Too Slow.
I don't even want to know how much it costs to keep Tesla's legal team on retainer. Numbers like that would probably make a Lykan Hypersport owner cringe and reach for a security blanket.
But, by God, they are making their money's worth today.
It's not like I'm surprised that Tesla is headed to the courthouse, but the irony of the events of the past 24 hours is that Tesla has become both the plaintiff and the defendant in a lawsuit at the same time.
Let's start with Tesla as the plaintiff. They have taken the U.S. state of Michigan (and its governor, Rick Snyder) to court regarding the state's decision to prevent the California automaker from selling directly to consumers instead of going through a dealership network. This isn't a particularly new issue for Tesla--six months ago, I wrote about a similar scenario the Tesla faced with the National Automotive Dealers Association. That article does a pretty good job of explaining the quandary that Tesla is in, which is the crux of this particular lawsuit.
The other suit, in which Tesla is the defendant, is pretty much exactly what the clickbait headline suggests: Norwegian Tesla owners are complaining about the performance of their Model S vehicles.
An article from Fortune outlines the class-action lawsuit filed by 126 Norwegian Tesla owners. The claim is pretty simple--they believe that Tesla falsely advertised performance claims from Tesla regarding their "Insane Mode" setting on certain Model S P85D models. Putting the P85D in this mode was advertised by Tesla to generate nearly 700 horsepower.
However, the group of Norwegian plaintiffs claim that their cars only generated 469 horsepower in Insane Mode, 2/3 of what they were supposed to. Naturally, the plaintiffs are looking to get some compensation from Tesla on the grounds of false advertising.
Not surprisingly, Tesla claims that their cars passed all of the required testing and that their performance claims are accurate. I think Volkswagen may have said the same thing around this time last year about their diesel cars...
Cynicism aside, I feel bad for Tesla Motors. They (or, at least, their lawyers) are going to be spending a lot of time in court over the next few years. Any time a Tesla crashes, there's a corporate attorney who's going to be losing sleep wondering if they will have to defend Tesla's controversial "Auto Pilot" function in a court of law. Adding to the list of Elon Musk's headaches is the discovery that Teslas are fairly easy to hack into.
Whatever happens in any of these cases, it's clear that Tesla still has quite a few bugs to work out before they become the legends that Elon Musk thinks they should be. Will they get to a point where they will take over the world? Will they even get to a point where they'll turn a profit? As far as the latter is concerned, they'd better do it quickly, because I'm pretty sure their lawyers don't want to work pro bono.