Tesla’s autonomous claims challenged as it probes European factory sites

27 August 2019

Tesla's autonomous claims challenged as it probes European factory sites

27 August 2019

Tesla has examined areas in Germany's state of North Rhine-Westphalia for its future factory in Europe.

The Rheinishce Post has stated that the company has shown interest in the area with first expectations taking place, citing people familiar with the topic. The company is also looking at areas in Lower Saxony, according to Germany's economy minister Bernd Althusmann has said.

In June, CEO Elon Musk called Germany ′a leading choice for Europe' in reply to a tweet asking if it would be wise for Tesla to set up its first European gigafactory in the country.

′Perhaps on the German-French border makes sense, near the Benelux countries,' Musk said last year when discussing the move into Europe, having also been interested in sites in the Netherlands.

North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, shares borders with the Netherlands and Belgium. Lower Saxony shares a border with the Netherlands.

Europe is projected to be the world's second-largest driver of electric vehicle (EVs) in the next decade, behind only China. Tesla, one of the pioneers in the technology, is facing a race against time to establish a European base and take advantage of the growing market, with models from Audi, Daimler and Jaguar amongst those being brought to market.

Advertising issues

Meanwhile, the carmaker has been reported to the UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) by Which? magazine over claims on its website that a collection of features it sells as an option offer ′full self-driving' capabilities.

′Full self-driving does not exist, and even if it did, UK law states that cars must be controlled by the driver at all times,' the magazine states.

A disclaimer on the carmaker's website does say that the suite of features on offer will not make a vehicle autonomous. However, some of the features as described are not permitted under UK law.

′We think the most misleading claim is for the ′Summon' feature, which Tesla's website describes as ′your parked car will come and find you anywhere in the car park.' Yet the company's own manual says it has a maximum distance of 12 metres, must be continually monitored by the driver and is designed and intended only for use on private property,' the magazine states.

Difficult year

Tesla has had a tumultuous year, initially announcing it was closing all its physical dealerships to allow for a price cut on its Model 3, before performing a U-turn and deciding to axe only half its locations. Instead, the price cut will be funded by a 3% rise in the costs of a Model X and Model S.