The agency alleges the EV maker misled consumers about the capabilities of its drivers assistance systems in two complaints filed with the state’s Office of Administrative Hearings in late July, reports the Los Angeles Times. Although unlikely, the complaints could cause the company to temporarily lose the licenses it needs to manufacture and sell vehicles in the Golden State.
In the pair of filings, the DMV’s lawyers accuse Tesla of suggesting that EVs equipped with its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) technologies can operate autonomously, even though they cannot. The agency, which registers motor vehicles and issues driver licenses in California, claims the automaker “made or disseminated statements that are untrue or misleading, and not based on facts” at least five times on its website between May 2021 and July of this year. There are currently no vehicles, made by Tesla or any other company, capable of full autonomous driving.
Tesla’s Autopilot technology is included as a feature on all of its EVs, while a premium FSD option is available for $12,000 up front or on a subscription basis for $199 per month, according to CNBC. FSD users with a high driver safety score, as determined by Tesla’s proprietary software, are able to participate in an exclusive beta program that lets them test out unfinished driver assistance features on public roads. The company says more than 100,000 drivers have already participated in the FSD beta, and that most of them are located in the US.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Robb Report on Monday. The company dissolved its media relations department in the fall of 2020, although a press email address for press inquires is listed on its website.
Tesla has two weeks to respond to the accusations, otherwise the DMV could make a default decision, according to CNBC. It remains to be seen what consequences, if any, the automaker will face, but the complaint mentions the possibility that it could lose licenses to make or sell vehicles in California. That would be a worst-case scenario, of course, and it is likely that any punitive actions taken against the company will less drastic.