According to Reuters, a senior Indonesian cabinet minister told CNBC Indonesia that Tesla has signed a contract worth nearly $5 billion. The new deal between Tesla and Indonesia has to do with nickel supply for Tesla’s batteries. The battery materials will be purchased from a nickel processing company in Indonesia within 5 years. The report further points out that Indonesia has been trying to get Tesla to build production facilities in the country. Earlier this year, Indonesian President Joko Widodo met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk in an attempt to push Tesla to invest in Indonesia.
Indonesia has the world’s largest nickel reserves and its president wants to vigorously develop a nickel-based electric vehicle industry at home. This is halting exports of nickel ore to secure supplies for investors. This move has successfully attracted investment from South Korean companies such as LG and Hyundai. Regarding this recent report, there is no official response from Tesla.
Caltrans accuses Tesla of falsely advertising its Autopilot features
Electric car company Tesla was last week accused by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV, Department of Motor Vehicles) of falsely promoting Autopilot (autonomous driving) and Full Self-Driving (Fully autonomous driving) functions. In a July 28 complaint filing with the California Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), the DMV alleges Tesla is misleading customers in advertising. The report claims that the advertisement exaggerates the actual effectiveness of its advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).
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The DMV alleges that it “makes or disseminates untrue or misleading claims that have no factual basis when advertising vehicles are or may be equipped with advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) features.”
The DMV also notes that the Autopilot page on Tesla’s website uses “all you need to do is get in the car 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 a hypothetical destination. Your Tesla will figure out the best route to navigate city streets, complex intersections and highways.” “The system is for short and long trips without the need for a driver’s seat…” and other misleading words.
The DMV further stated: “These ‘Autopilot’ and ‘Full Self-Driving’ labels state that ADAS-equipped vehicles will operate as self-driving vehicles, but in reality at the time of these adverts, ADAS-equipped vehicles cannot operate as autonomous vehicles. In fact, even as of now, it is still not possible”
Although Tesla’s website states that the Autopilot feature requires driver supervision and the car is not autonomous. The DMV claims this contradicts the misleading advertising slogan and is still misleading.
Two weeks to respond
According to the California Office of Administrative Hearings, Tesla has 15 days to file a defense. However, since the company disbanded its public relations department in the United States in 2020. Thus, there is no official response from the company so far. After the company responds, the matter could be brought to a hearing at OAH, where an administrative law judge will decide, according to the DMV. If the company disagrees with the decision, the company can appeal to the high court. Alternatively, Tesla can choose to settle with the DMV.
The accusation is very serious. However, if the DMV charges are successful, Tesla could lose its license to manufacture and sell cars in California. California is Tesla’s largest U.S. sales market, where the company sold 121,000 vehicles in 2021. This is almost 35% of its total sales in the U.S.
Tesla’s automatic assisted driving function was launched in 2015. However, this feature has been controversial since its launch, and various traffic accidents occur from time to time. Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had to investigate Tesla. NHTSA is investigating a Tesla crash in which there were two deaths. Since 2016, NHTSA had to dispatch teams to deal with 39 incidents which involve the use of self-driving systems. Of those, 30 involve Tesla, including the killing of 19 people in a crash.