Tesla faces hefty fines in Norway for throttling its EV batteries

Tesla has been found guilty by a Norwegian court of throttling charging speeds and limiting the maximum capacity of its electric vehicle batteries and has been ordered to pay 136,000 kroner (£11,500) to thousands of customers.

The changes to the battery were delivered by Tesla as part of a software update in 2019 that saw many drivers lose around 20 to 30 miles of maximum range and were unable to use the firm’s Superchargers as quickly as before.

Owners of the Model S and Model X cars with 85kWh battery packs were affected.

In a comment to Electrek, which first reported on the court judgement, Tesla said the updates were made to “protect the battery and improve battery longevity.”

Lithium-ion batteries - the type which are used in electric vehicles, but also consumer gadgets like smartphones - tend to lose capacity the more charge cycles they are put through. Various research projects have shown that for optimum longevity, they should be kept somewhere between 20 to 40 per cent of max capacity at the lower limit and 80 to 90 at the upper limit. Fast charging has also been shown to deplete their lifespan faster than slower forms of charging.

While the lawsuit only awarded the 30 attached claimants with compensation from Tesla, it is thought that up to 10,000 Tesla owners in Norway could be affected, opening the door to further lawsuits. Tesla opted not to challenge the judgement in court.

The firm has until May 30 to pay the fine or it can file an appeal with the Oslo council.

Norway currently has one of the highest rates of electric vehicle ownership in the world due to heavy subsidies provided by the Government.

Last year, Apple was forced to pay out $113m (£81m) to iPhone users in the US after it intentionally hampered the performance of their devices’ CPUs so that they could continue to operate after the battery performance had degraded.

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