Reuters: Tesla rigged in-car driving range projections and established team to suppress complaints

Tesla had a secret internal team tasked with suppressing thousands of driving range complaints generated by falsely optimistic dashboard estimates. Reuters reports that "Tesla employees had been instructed to thwart any customers complaining about poor driving range from bringing their vehicles in for service."

Last summer, the company quietly created a "Diversion Team" in Las Vegas to cancel as many range-related appointments as possible. The Austin, Texas-based electric carmaker deployed the team because its service centers were inundated with appointments from owners who had expected better performance based on the company's advertised estimates and the projections displayed by the in-dash range meters of the cars themselves, according to several people familiar with the matter.

Inside the Nevada team's office, some employees celebrated canceling service appointments by putting their phones on mute and striking a metal xylophone, triggering applause from coworkers who sometimes stood on desks. The team often closed hundreds of cases a week and staffers were tracked on their average number of diverted appointments per day.

Every company selling things with batteries is as optimistic about reported battery life as it thinks it can legally get away with. But cars are not laptops or phones. It's not somewhere that attitide is tolerable, because the potential for disaster is so much greater.

It seems that "my Tesla gives inaccurate mileage readings and they refuse to honor service requests" should be a bigger thing on social media, too. There's always been a lot of grousing in general over Teslas on Twitter, Reddit and the other usual places. Owners were always whining about the fit and finish, for example. They still are!

On that note, I always thought that Elon Musk's online persona likely has more to do with being unable to cope with social media criticism of him and his companies than any of the other things people speculate about, especially after newsrooms and pundits started taking cues from it. "Social media criticism" is the standard trap door from "vaguely libertarian attention-seeker" to "reactionary Twitter addict" now, with all social media's proxies for human interaction (likes, subscribe, follow, mutes, blocks, trends!) greasing the chute.