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South Korean Antitrust Probes Tesla Over Exaggerated Vehicle Range Claims

Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf is a law graduate and freelance journalist with a keen interest in tech reporting.

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It is reported today that the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC), (South Korea’s antitrust regulator),  has initiated an investigation against the American electric vehicle giant Tesla for allegedly making “exaggerated” claims regarding the range of its vehicles.

The probe was first reported by the Yonhap News Agency in Seoul on Monday evening. According to the reports, the Fair Trade Commission examiner handed Tesla a review report that was identical to the prosecution’s indictment.

The letter highlighted potential punishments for allegedly breaking South Korea’s Fair Labeling and Advertising Act, including hefty fines against the corporation.

A KFTC official confirmed the investigation: “We plan to hold a meeting to decide the level of sanctions against the automaker.”

The range estimations for Tesla’s vehicles appear to be a crucial aspect of the KFTC’s complaint against the business. According to Tesla’s website, the Model 3 sedan can travel 528 kilometers (328 miles) on a single charge.

This number may not be accurate, according to the KFTC, especially if the vehicle is driven in temperatures below freezing.

 It’s worth noting that range degradation during cold-weather driving isn’t exclusive to Tesla. Most electric vehicles, according to analysts, lose some driving range in cold weather.

The same is true for internal combustion engines, as gas-powered vehicles use more fuel when the temperature drops.

A Quebec-based consultant, Yves Racette, reacting to the gas-powered vehicles consuming more fuel, said: “Gas cars lose range just like electric cars; you’re consuming more fuel in winter than in summer.”

Aside from possible fines related to Tesla’s car range estimations, the Korea Fair Trade Commission is considering fining the business for allegedly refusing to refund a 100,000 won ($83) order fee that buyers are expected to pay when placing an order for a vehicle. Even if a buyer cancels their order, the $83 cost is not refunded, according to the KFTC.

Tesla’s order fee practices, according to the KFTC, infringe on customers’ freedom to cancel their subscriptions. The electric vehicle manufacturer has received a review report on the matter.

However,  the American electric vehicles giant is yet to issue any official statement regarding the KFTC’s recent investigation.

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