California regulator: Tesla misleads consumers with Autopilot advertising

The California Department of Motor Vehicles accuses Tesla of misleading consumers. According to the regulator, the advertisements that the company makes for its self-driving functions are misleading.

The DMV states in his accusations Tesla’s ads for its self-driving features, Autopilot and Full Self-Driving, are misleading. For example, the names of those features would give the impression that the cars can drive more autonomously than is actually possible. The DMV also states that Tesla’s ads suggest the cars can already fully function as a self-driving car, but that’s not yet the case. This would allow the company to the California Civil Code violate.

Tesla “has made or disseminated statements that are untrue or misleading, and not based on fact,” the DMV writes in its complaint. The supervisor refers, among other things, to: to Full Self-Driving descriptions on Tesla’s website. “All you have to do is get in and tell your car where to go. If you don’t say anything, your car will look at your calendar and take you there as its supposed destination. Your Tesla will figure out the optimal route, navigate through urban streets, complex intersections and highways,” reads the automaker’s website.

Full Self-Driving is currently still in beta, which Tesla users can unlock for $12,000. This is a feature that allows Tesla vehicles to steer, accelerate and brake independently. However, this involves autonomous driving on ‘level 2‘, which still requires a driver to be behind the wheel. Tesla also warns customers not to take their hands off the wheel and pay attention while the feature is active, but the DMV says that is insufficient and “contrary to other descriptions on its website.”

The complaint has been filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings in California. The regulator wants a hearing. If the DMV is right, Tesla risks, among other things, fines. It is also possible that Tesla’s license to sell vehicles in California could be suspended. The possible penalty will probably be less. The DMV tells the LA Times that it wants to ask Tesla to more realistically advertise its autonomous driving features if the regulator wins. Tesla has not yet responded to the DMV’s complaints.