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Tesla Tweaks South Korea Ads After Probe Faults Batteries

The Model 3 sedan description on Tesla’s Korean-language site was changed to say it is capable of travelling a “maximum” of 528 km, from “more than” 528 km

People walk past a showroom outside Tesla China headquarters in Beijing
Tesla has cut prices in several markets globally and kickstarted a price war in China that since the start of the year. photo: Reuters


Tesla changed an advertisement about the driving range for its Model 3 in South Korea after an antitrust regulator found that the automaker exaggerated the specifications of its batteries.

The Model 3 sedan description on Tesla’s Korean-language website was changed to say the vehicle is capable of travelling a “maximum” of 528 kilometres (328 miles) on a single charge, from “more than” 528 kilometres, screen shots captured by local media showed.

The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) this week said it had sent a report to the US electric vehicle (EV) maker stating that it had exaggerated the mileage of some of its models, including its Model 3, in violation of the Act on Fair Labelling and Advertising.

Analysts said most electric vehicles could generally experience some loss of driving range in cold weather.

“The KFTC plans to give the automaker the opportunity to respond to our finding and then hold a general meeting to review and determine the extent to which the automaker has violated the law and decide the level of sanctions,” said a commission official, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

On its US website, the Model 3 description said: “Go anywhere with “up to” 358 miles of estimated range on a single charge.” That distance equates to about 576km.

The description for Hyundai Motor’s Ioniq 5 midsize crossover also states its range as travelling a “maximum” 429km on a single charge.

Although analysts said driving range labelling should follow each country’s specific guidelines, the KFTC’s claims over Tesla’s mileage advertisement would most likely not have a significant impact on the automaker’s sales in the country, given the company’s  dominant position and reputation in the EV market.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara





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Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


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