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Used Tesla Vehicles Battery Deterioration and Warranty Class Action

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2017 Tesla Model S 60

Are Teslas cutting-edge vehicles? What would a used Tesla be like? Tesla touts its “best warranty and service program in the world,” but the complaint for this class action alleges that some buyers of pre-owned Teslas can’t get warranty coverage for needed battery repairs or replacement.

The class for this action is all persons or entities who bought, or will buy, a used, certified pre-owned Tesla Model S or X vehicle, model years 2012 to the present, directly from Tesla in the US. Models include the following:

  • Model S: 60, 60D, 70, 70D, 75, 75D, 85, 85D, P85, P85+, 90 (2015), 90D, 100D, P100D.
  • Model X: 60D, 70D, 75D, 90D, P90D, 100D, P100D.

Tesla has sold over 13,000 used Model S and Model X vehicles. The complaint says, “Tesla inspects these vehicles without providing any type of checklist or written report to disclose the findings of the purported inspections. With regards to the vehicle batteries, for example, purchasers are not told what the battery capacities of the vehicles they are purchasing are…”

Tesla makes great claims for its care with batteries. About its Battery Warranty, it says, “In developing the Model S, we took great care to ensure that the battery would protect itself… If something goes wrong, it is therefore our fault, not yours.” It goes on to say, “Except in cases of a collision, opening of the battery pack by non-Tesla personnel or intentional abuse … all damage is covered by warranty, including improper maintenance or unintentionally leaving the pack at a low state of charge for years on end.”

 “Tesla offers an 8-year, unlimited mile warranty for the batteries” of the vehicles at issue, the complaint says, but it does not live up to it.

Plaintiff Hugh Nguyen bought a certified, pre-owned 2014 Model S 60 Tesla. Tesla advertised it as having a 60 kWh battery with a 210-mile range, and said it would “receive a full inspection, remaining battery and drive warranty and a two year, 100,000 miles maximum odometer pre-owned limited warranty with 24 hour roadside assistance.” 

Nguyen put down a deposit on October 27, 2017 and the vehicle was delivered to him on November 17, 2017. Tesla did not make any statements about the health of his new car’s battery or, in fact, anything about the results of the inspection the company had supposedly done. It did not provide him with a checklist of parts that had been inspected—which is required by law.

However, Nguyen soon found that a full charge would take him not 210 miles, but only 166 miles. He took it in for repair. Technicians made a change to the battery management system, but that did not fix the problem.

Between December 2017 and July 2018, Nguyen took his Model S in for servicing at least five times. However, Tesla has neither replaced the battery nor offered a proper remedy. Tesla claims the car is only experiencing normal battery degradation. 

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