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S’Korea fines Elon Musk’s Tesla $2.2m over false advert

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(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 10, 2022, Elon Musk pauses and looks down as he speaks during a press conference at SpaceX's Starbase facility near Boca Chica Village in South Texas. - New Twitter owner Elon Musk tweeted an anti-LGBT conspiracy theory on October 30, 2022, about what happened the night US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband was attacked, underscoring concerns about the platform's future after he vowed it would not become a "free-for-all hellscape." (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP)

South Korea’s antitrust regulator said Tuesday it would fine Tesla 2.85 billion won ($2.2 million) for neglecting to inform customers that the driving range of its electric vehicles could be halved in cold weather.

Online, the company had exaggerated and made false claims about the range and charging speed of its electric vehicles, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) said.

The American automaker also made deceptive claims about the cost-effectiveness of fuel savings compared to gasoline vehicles, it added.

According to the KFTC, the driving range of Tesla’s electric vehicles drops by up to 50.5 per cent in cold weather compared to how they were advertised on the local, Korean-language website.

Tesla also failed to inform buyers that “charging performance varies greatly depending on the type of supercharger, external temperature and the state of charge of the battery,” the regulator said in a statement.

The fueling saving estimates were also skewed by the failure to disclose how the charging cost of an electric vehicle is affected by various factors, such as charging speed and the government’s policy on price discounts, it added.

The regulator imposed an additional 1 million won fine for failing to provide enough information on the cancelling policy, among other issues.

Tesla could not immediately be reached for comment.

On Monday, Tesla said it had delivered 1.31 million electric vehicles in 2022 — a record for the Elon- Musk-led automaker and a 40 per cent jump from a year before, but still short of its own and Wall Street’s expectations.

After soaring on Wall Street in 2020 and 2021, the company’s shares plummeted 65 per cent in 2022.

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