Despite Elon Musk's Promises, Client Had to Sue Tesla to Have FSD Hardware Update

Tesla's unfulfilled promise that it would upgrade hardware for FSD was challenged in courts 6 photos
Photo: Tesla/edited by autoevolution
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On July 19, 2021, we wrote that Tesla was charging $1,500 from its Full Self-Driving customers to give them the hardware the EV maker and Elon Musk promised they would have since April 22, 2019, on – or October 19, 2016, as a blog post on Tesla’s website still states. For all customers demanding their cars to have HW 3.0 – the Autopilot computer that would give Tesla buyers a robotaxi by 2020 – Musk said they would get the hardware for free. Ian Jordan didn’t. He sued Tesla and won.
According to Electrek, the Model 3 owner wanted to subscribe to the FSD package, which charges $199 per month if the customer has basic Autopilot or $99 if the EV already has Enhanced Autopilot. We have no idea in which situation Jordan fitted, but the fact is that he wanted to try the advanced driver assistance system (ADAS).

His car had HW 2.5, which Tesla’s 206 promised said would be enough. It wasn’t: FSD requires HW 3.0, which should have been installed in all cars made after April 22, 2019. It would be interesting to learn when Jordan bought his Model 3, but Electrek did not disclose that.

What the website said is that Tesla wanted to charge him $1,000 for him to subscribe to the ADAS. Apparently, Tesla thinks that it only has to deliver the hardware it promised its cars would have to customers who purchased Full Self-Driving, not to those who just want to try the beta software. Jordan preferred to take the situation to a Washington small claims court.

Tesla did not even bother to defend itself, which made things a lot easier for the consumer. That also happened in Norway when more than 30 customers there sued Tesla for voltage capping their cars. The main difference is that Tesla did not appeal the decision in Jordan’s case, while it did that with the Norwegian clients. Judge Matthew A. Skau qualified Tesla’s promises about hardware readiness for FSD as “false advertising” and ordered the company to upgrade his car without charging anything. That creates an important precedent for all customers who had to pay for the hardware upgrade – an improvement their cars should not even require.

Jordan filed a separate complaint to get his money back from upgrading the MCUv1 in another Tesla he owns (a Model S or a Model X, but Electrek did not disclose that). Ironically, that is another shady episode from the American EV maker. The MCUv1 had a chronic issue with its eMMC flash memory card that was considered a safety hazard by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In other words, replacing it became a recall, which Tesla should do for free. Jordan had to pay $1,657.50 to replace it, and the EV maker did not refund him, but Justice did. Apart from getting his money back, the Tesla customer also received $500 more for losing AM function on the MCUv2.

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About the author: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
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Motoring writer since 1998, Gustavo wants to write relevant stories about cars and their shift to a sustainable future.
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