Owners of the P85D could get about $6,000 each.
Tesla Motors is a lightning rod for scrutiny, and the latest criticism comes from Norway’s Consumer Disputes Commission. After a lengthy court battle, Electrek reports that Tesla may have to pay about $6,000 to every Norwegian owner of a Tesla Model S P85D.
The problems began when one customer was disappointed with Tesla’s horsepower ratings for the P85D. Though the car was initially claimed to have 691 hp, that figure was an overestimate of how much power could actually be put to the ground. Because of the way Tesla’s electronics and motors work, the drive motors are usually rated for their maximum output – which is greater than the amount of power that the inverters and batteries can actually supply. And dual-motor cars, like the P85D, are rated based on adding the ratings of their front and rear motors.
The company explained in a September 2015 blog post that while the electric motors’ horsepower and torque ratings are fixed, the actual amount of power the battery can provide varies as its state-of-charge changes. “The motor shaft horsepower, when operating alone, is a more consistent rating,” the company wrote. “In fact, it is only this… motor shaft horsepower rating that is legally required to be posted in the European Union.”
However, due to the high power demands of its go-fast P85 D model, the company admitted the ratings are more difficult: “As we have pushed the combined motor horsepower higher and higher, the amount of times where the battery chemical horsepower is lower than the combined motor horsepower has increased… With the P85D the combined motor shaft power can often exceed the battery electrical horsepower available.”
Tesla’s stance is that it adequately explained the difference between motor power and actual power ratings; Norway’s Consumer Council initially agreed with Tesla, but the plaintiff in this case appealed the decision to the Consumer Disputes Commission.
In a statement, Tesla told Motor1 that it disagrees with the latest resolution: “Testing done by Tesla and independent third parties has demonstrated that the Model S P85D’s acceleration and motor power numbers have always been accurate, even understated… Similarly, the motor power numbers used by Tesla were legally required and confirmed as accurate by European regulatory authorities. Based on this information, the Consumer Council previously resolved these issues in Tesla’s favor. Tesla will be reviewing the decision by the Consumer Disputes Commission to better understand the conclusion that it reached.”
Though the CDC ruled in favor of the P85D owner, Tesla says it is now waiting for the Norwegian plaintiff to “prove that it is more likely that the car does not achieve the effect/performance as it was marketed at the time of delivery.”
Today, Tesla is more transparent about rating its cars’ output figures, with asterisks on the company’s website indicating that the numbers represent “Battery limited maximum motor shaft power.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk previously praised Norway after the country’s government said it planned to ban internal-combustion cars after 2025, paving the way for only electric or fuel-cell vehicles to be sold there.