Financial Union News on August 6 (Editor Xiaoxiang)Tesla fans clearly have a lot of eyes on the company's annual shareholder meeting this week. However, the run-up to the shareholder meeting was clearly fraught for the world's biggest electric-car company.
California's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) last week accused Tesla of falsely advertising the company's signature autonomous and fully autonomous driving technology, local media reported on Friday.
The agency said the electric car maker misled customers in advertising language on its website that exaggerated the capabilities of autonomous and fully autonomous driving technology.
The complaint could affect Tesla's car sales operations in California.If the regulator's complaint to the state's Office of Administrative Hearings is successful, Tesla's license to manufacture and sell cars in California could be suspended or revoked.
In two complaints filed with the state's Office of Administrative Hearings on July 28, the DMV said Tesla "disseminated untrue or misleading statements and had no basis in fact when advertising that its vehicles were equipped or could be equipped with Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) features."
Tesla says in marketing text on its website that its driver-assistance technology is capable of driving "without requiring action from the person in the driver's seat." The DMV said the ads were misleading despite Tesla's statement that the procedures "require active driver supervision."
The autopilot feature is controversial
Tesla's Autopilot system has been one of the company's key selling points since its launch in 2015 and has helped the carmaker differentiate itself in an increasingly crowded electric vehicle market.
The Autopilot system automatically assists steering, acceleration and braking in the lane. But it was designed primarily for use on highways. Tesla also says the driver must keep both hands on the wheel to maintain control of the vehicle while using the system.
Autopilot takes its name from the aviation system that allows an aircraft to fly itself in ideal conditions with limited pilot operation. In the current system, if the driver fails to keep his hands on the steering wheel at all times, the Tesla car will go off autopilot.
Owners can pay an additional $12,000 for a one-time purchase of the fully autonomous feature (FSD), or subscribe for $199 a month. By the end of the second quarter of this year, more than 100,000 Tesla owners in North America had used the FSD beta feature.
Musk said fully autonomous driving would be "fully functional" by the end of the year to about 1 million car owners.
The promise of autonomous and fully autonomous vehicles is already a big reason for Tesla's lofty valuation. According to Tesla's full-year 2021 results, its services and other businesses, which include autopilot software, generated $3.802 billion in revenue, up 65% from a year earlier and accounting for 7.06% of total revenue.
However, In recent years, reports of accidents caused by Tesla's autopilot system have also been reported frequently.According to a report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in June, Tesla's electric vehicles were involved in 70 percent of accidents involving driver assistance technology, 60 percent of accidents involving serious injuries and 85 percent of accidents involving fatalities.
Just last Sunday, a motorcyclist in Draper, Utah, was killed when he was hit by a Tesla driver using autopilot. The crash also caught the attention of NHTSA. The agency suspects that the main cause of the crash may have been a malfunction in Tesla's autopilot, which was unable to identify the motorcycle on the highway.
Tesla has until next Friday to contest or respond to the DMV's complaint.
State Senator Lena Gonzalez, chairwoman of the Transportation Committee, said the DMV's case against Tesla was indeed "very concerning." "It is extremely important to demonstrate the limitations of this technology in the most understandable way possible to best protect public safety on California's roads," she said.