Tesla Under Threat of Sanction in South Korea: Why It’s Absurd

South Korea’s antitrust regulator is considering sanctioning Tesla and fining it for seemingly absurd reasons. Indeed, the American manufacturer is criticized for exaggerating the autonomy of its vehicles… in very cold weather.

Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S // Source: Jp Valery / Unsplash

Here is a funny affair reported by the Reuters news agency. In South Korea, the antitrust regulator has issued the following conclusion: Tesla overestimates certain characteristics of its electric cars, in particular autonomy, which would violate the law Fair Advertising and Labeling Act from the country.

This law fights against unfair advertisements and deceptive services that mislead consumers according to the information and advertising published by the company. The idea being to establish fair and healthy commercial competition, which protects the general public. And for the Korean Competition Authority (KTFC), Tesla would be a problem.

Yes, electric cars don’t like the cold

Also according to Reuters, the KTFC had sent a report to Tesla that it was exaggerating the range of its vehicles. ” We plan to hold a general meeting to review and determine the extent to which the automaker has broken the law and decide on the level of penalties“said an official.

Except that the charges against the Californian firm border somewhat on the ridiculous. Indeed, the KTFC considers abnormal the fact that the announced autonomy is not respected in case of temperature below zero. However, the KTFC should know that all batteries are less efficient in freezing temperatures.

This phenomenon does not only concern Tesla, but all electric cars on the market. The autonomy also varies according to several factors: the weather, the terrain, the speed and your type of driving (eco-driving, or not). What is recorded is that our EVs do not really appreciate temperatures that are too cold.

Tesla Model Y test (26)
The Tesla Model Y // Source: Frandroid

As remindedHibridos and Electricos, South Korea does not have its own certification system to assess the autonomy of a car. The country is based on the WLTP standard, widely used throughout the world, and whose procedure defines a range of action according to several data collected.

However, we all know that an electric car almost never respects the WLTP figures communicated by a manufacturer. If the Korean antitrust regulator wants to sanction Tesla, then it should logically look to other manufacturers to do the same. Because everyone is more or less in the same boat.

A second case examined

It would therefore seem very surprising that Tesla is forced to pay a fine for such an act. On the other hand, the brand could be in some trouble because of another story. The KTFC is considering imposing a penalty on it for not having refunded the deposit of certain customers who canceled their order.

In South Korea, a deposit of around 73 euros is required when buying a Tesla electric car. And according to the Yonhap news agency, Tesla would not have wanted to compensate the most undecided who finally decided to retract. On this point, difficult to defend the manufacturer.

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