Tesla has been accused by a California regulator of making false statements about its vehicles’ “Autopilot” and “Full Self-Driving” features, leading customers to believe they are more advanced than they actually are, reports the Bloomberg.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) said the company violated the law when it “disseminated statements that are untrue or misleading.” The complaints, which were made in letters to the state Office of Administrative Hearings on July 28, were first made public in a Los Angeles Times story on Friday. Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.
Autopilot and the promise of fully self-driving vehicles are a big part of the Austin, Texas-based company’s high valuation. However, regulators have raised questions about the potential of these features. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, is investigating several Tesla accidents involving the Autopilot system, including those where Tesla cars crashed into parked emergency vehicles.
The DMV is asking the company to provide more accurate terms and better descriptions to inform customers. If it prevails in a hearing against Tesla and the automaker doesn’t comply, the agency can refile its complaint and seek stiffer penalties, according to a DMV spokesman.
Tesla has 15 days to respond to the DMV if it wishes to dispute or defend the charges. The recent complaints by the California DMV are separate from the agency’s ongoing review of the intended design and technological capabilities of Tesla vehicles.
The electric car maker is a major employer in California, with more than 45,000 workers. Its factory near San Francisco in Fremont, California produces the Model S, X, 3 and Y.
In July 2016, Musk unveiled his “Master Plan, Part Deux” and stated that “all Tesla vehicles will have the necessary hardware to be fully self-driving.” At Tesla’s shareholder meeting Thursday, CEO Elon Musk said the FSD Beta, a software release that has been rolled out to more than 100,000 Tesla customers, continues to rack up millions of miles.
“We are now over 40 million miles,” Musk said. “And we’re still very much looking at the broad deployment of FSD Beta this year in North America.”