German Consumer Group Sues Tesla

July 19 - The Federal Association of Consumer Centers (VZBV) has filed a lawsuit against Tesla in the Berlin District Court. Tesla misled consumers about the CO2 emissions of its electric vehicles.

According to the VZBV, Tesla made misleading statements when promoting CO2 emission reductions. Tesla advertised online that the Model 3 emits "0 grams of CO2/km. In addition, it advertises that "Tesla has a mission: to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy." and "The Tesla Credo: The faster we can overcome our dependence on fossil fuels and achieve an emissions-free future, the better."

According to VZBV, consumers thus believe that by purchasing a car, they will reduce the overall CO2 emissions of their passenger cars, which is the decisive reason for many to switch to electric vehicles.

The reality looks different: Tesla cars save carbon emissions, but allow third-party vehicles to emit additional emissions. According to the company's own figures, it will earn $1.6 billion in 2020 alone from the sale of "emissions credits.

In 2020, Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) reportedly earned $1.6 billion from the sale of carbon credits, far exceeding its net profit of $721 million, according to its recent earnings report, which showed its first profit in 2020, but not from the sale of cars.

In addition, VZBV alleges that the car company concealed the customer's obligation to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation when using the Guardian Mode feature and risked fines in the event of a breach. In guardian mode, the vehicle environment is continuously monitored by cameras.

"Tesla's Guardian Mode is designed to protect the vehicle, but Tesla remains silent and users must obtain consent from passersby who happen to pass by the vehicle when processing personal data, so anyone using the feature is in violation of data protection laws and risks a fine."

The VZBV director concerned said that the fact that the guarding mode was allowed despite huge data protection flaws shows that the certification process for the autonomous driving function is flawed and that a mandatory data protection impact assessment must be seriously considered. In Germany, the cooperation between the Federal Motor Transport Agency and the Federal Data Protection Officer.


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