The Justice Department has initiated an investigation to determine if Tesla‘s electric cars meet the official range estimates provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in terms of how far they can travel on a single battery charge.
Tesla disclosed this ongoing inquiry by the DOJ in its recent submission to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), revealing that the investigation encompasses various concerns, including “vehicle range.”
The range of electric vehicles can be influenced by external factors, such as outdoor temperatures, with electric cars generally achieving longer distances in warmer weather. However, Consumer Reports conducted its own testing, which suggested that Tesla’s vehicles consistently fall short of their advertised range, regardless of weather conditions.
Consumer Reports conducted range tests on several electric vehicles, including the Tesla Model Y, Volkswagen ID.4, Hyundai Ioniq 5, and Ford Mustang Mach-E. The ID.4 and Mach-E slightly outperformed their claimed ranges in warmer conditions, while the Ioniq 5 came close to its stated range of 256 miles. Notably, the Model Y fell significantly short of the official EPA figure, despite covering a similar distance to the Mach-E and surpassing both the ID.4 and Ioniq 5 in terms of total miles covered. In Consumer Reports’ test, the Model Y reached 274 miles in warm weather, compared to the EPA’s official range rating of 326 miles.
Tesla’s SEC filing noted that, “to our knowledge, no government agency in any ongoing investigation has concluded that any wrongdoing occurred.” The company did not respond to requests for comments, and the Justice Department declined to provide any statements regarding the ongoing investigations.
The EPA’s official range estimates rely on multiple factors, including data supplied by automakers. If the data is found to be inaccurate, it can lead to legal repercussions for the automaker. Notably, Volkswagen faced legal consequences for providing misleading information about the emissions from its diesel vehicles and pleaded guilty, agreeing to pay substantial fines, including $2.8 billion in criminal penalties to the U.S. government, amounting to a total of $4.3 billion.