Drivers sue Tesla, allege false advertising on autopilot tech

Elon Musk
FILE – Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks before unveiling the Model Y at Tesla’s design studio in Hawthorne, Calif., March 14, 2019. Musk’s legal team is demanding to hear from a whistleblowing former Twitter executive who could help bolster Musk’s case for backing out of a $44 billion deal to buy the social media company. Twitter’s former security chief Peiter Zatko received a subpoena on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, from Musk’s team, according to Zatko’s lawyer and court records. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

A Tesla owner sued the electric car manufacturer on Wednesday, alleging the company falsely advertised its autopilot technology and misled customers about the technology’s capabilities.

California resident Briggs Matsko — who bought a new Tesla Model X in 2018 — filed the class-action lawsuit on behalf of himself and other customers who “never received the self-driving car that Tesla promised them.”

Matsko paid an extra $5,000 for Tesla’s autopilot technology, which the company claimed would make the car fully self-driving in some situations and suggested would soon work in all situations, according to the lawsuit. However, Matsko said Tesla never delivered on its promises. 

“Although these promises have proven false time and time again, Tesla and (CEO Elon) Musk have continued making them to generate media attention, to deceive consumers into believing it has unrivaled cutting-edge technology, and to establish itself as a leading player in the fast-growing electric vehicle market,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit pointed to one tweet from Musk in 2016, claiming that a Tesla vehicle would complete a fully self-driving trip across the United States by the next year, and another from 2019, in which he said that everyone with Tesla’s self-driving technology would be able to make a fully autonomous cross-country trip by the end of the year.

In 2016, Tesla also produced a video showing a Tesla car driving itself. However, the lawsuit noted that it was later revealed that the car required substantial assistance to complete the task and still made numerous mistakes.

The lawsuit also accused Tesla of using its customers “as untrained test engineers to test drive its experimental FSD Beta software on public roadways,” noting several fatal crashes that occurred using the autopilot technology.

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles similarly accused the company of false advertising in July. According to a complaint filed by the state DMV, Tesla cars with the autopilot technology “could not at the time of those advertisements, and cannot now, operate as autonomous vehicles,” Reuters reported.

Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Tags class-action lawsuit Electric vehicles Elon Musk self-driving cars Tesla

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