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Tesla slammed with lawsuit over lack of self-driving computer in Model 3 as owners don’t accept simple retrofit

Tesla is now facing a collective lawsuit from Model 3 owners in China who received their cars without the promised Full Self-Driving Computer as the owners haven’t accepted a simple retrofit.

As we reported earlier this month, Tesla delivered some Model 3 vehicles in China without the FSD computer and blamed a supply chain issue.

Every Tesla vehicle delivered since April 2019 is supposed to be equipped with Tesla’s ‘Full Self-Driving Computer,’ a system designed in-house that is supposed to power Tesla’s more advanced autonomous features, leading eventually to full self-driving software.

However, several new Model 3 made-in-China owners have noticed that the part number of their computer didn’t match with Tesla’s FSD computer despite the computer being listed in their sales documents.

They complained to the automaker who confirmed the problem and said that they have already installed the latest computer for those who ordered the software package that takes advantage of the higher computing power and that they will replace all the other computers as the supply issue gets resolved.

Apparently, that doesn’t work for some affected owners.

One of the owners said (via Global Times):

“It should not be an excuse for Tesla to downgrade the chips without notifying us. It would be more understandable if Tesla informed us in advance. We can wait but we cannot be denied the truth. I won’t accept Tesla’s pledge to upgrade the chip, because it is a key component, and the replacement would involve machine or wire dismantling, which may cause safety hazards,”

Some of them have used consumer protection laws to file a collective complaint against Tesla.

Global Times reported:

Xu Hao, a lawyer at the Beijing-based Jingsh Law Firm, told the Global Times Wednesday that “with the preliminary evidence consumers have provided, we can only say that Tesla is suspected of fraud at the moment, not confirmed.”

Earlier this week, the Chinese government, through the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), weighed in on the issue and “urged” Tesla to comply and be “consistent” with its products.

Update: We are getting reports from owners outside of China also getting new cars without the FSD computer.

Electrek’s Take

As I stated when this issue first arose, this is mainly a communication issue.

Tesla should have been upfront about the supply problem and told the buyers that they were delivering their cars without the latest hardware, which was promised on their sale documents – even if it doesn’t have an impact on functionality.

The fact that Tesla didn’t anticipate that and thought it wasn’t worth communicating shows that the company still has a lot of improvements to make on that front.

However, I think it’s a step too far to file a legal action against the company after they already confirmed that the computer is coming. The retrofit is simple and would solve the issue. I don’t think there’s really any safety concern here as mentioned by the owner in the Global Times.

But if they are really this mad, I guess it’s fair for Tesla to let them return the cars.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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