Brand new Tesla cars sit in a parking lot at a Tesla showroom on June 27, 2022 in Corte Madera, California.
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The California Department of Motor Vehicles has accused Tesla of engaging in deceptive practices around the marketing of its driver assistance systems, which are branded Autopilot and Full Self Driving in the U.S., according to filing with a state administrative agency.
Elon Musk’s electric car business risks more than its reputation — in a worst-case scenario, the company could temporarily lose the licenses which allow it to operate as a vehicle manufacturer and auto dealer in California.
In a pair of July 28 filings with California’s Office of Administrative Hearings, an official and attorneys for the DMV wrote:
“Instead of simply identifying product or brand names, these ‘Autopilot’ and ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’ labels and descriptions represent that vehicles equipped with the ADAS features will operate as an autonomous vehicle, but vehicles equipped with those ADAS features could not at the time of those advertisements, and cannot now, operate as autonomous vehicles.”
California DMV’s Deputy Director for the Office of Public Affairs, Anita Gore, told CNBC via e-mail that if the department prevails, it “will ask that Tesla will be required to advertise to consumers and better educate Tesla drivers about the capabilities of its ‘Autopilot’ and ‘Full Self-Driving’ features, including cautionary warnings regarding the limitations of the features, and for other actions as appropriate given the violations.”
Gore noted that this action pertains to Tesla’s marketing and advertising practices around Autopilot and FSD only. The California DMV is conducting a separate safety review of “the intended design and technological capabilities of Tesla vehicles,” to determine if they can be used on public roads without a special permit.
The DMV, Gore said, wants to prevent driver misunderstanding and misuse of new…
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