Tesla defends ‘Autopilot’ and ‘FSD’ names in false advertising case

Tesla has defended its use of the names “Autopilot” and “self-driving” to a California regulator this week in a continuing case alleging that the titles are false advertising.

After Tesla responded to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) last year saying that it would defend itself against the claims of false advertising, the automaker this week made a filing arguing that the agency had already approved the use of the terminology.

On Friday, in a filing with the Office of Administrative Hearings, Tesla argued that the California DMV previously and implicitly approved the use of the terminology by not taking action against the automaker in prior investigations (via Reuters). According to the filing, Tesla also faced an investigation from the DMV on its Autopilot name in 2014, which went on to let the automaker keep using the term.

“The DMV chose not to take any action against Tesla or otherwise communicate to Tesla that its advertising or use of these brand names was or might be problematic,” Tesla wrote in the filing.

Tesla also argued it was cleared to use the term “self-driving” in 2016 when the DMV was creating regulations around statements on autonomous technology. The resulting legislation left out previous clauses in DMV drafts that called for the prohibition of the title, which the automaker says was a tacit approval of the language used in its Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta.

“Tesla relied upon Claimant’s implicit approval of these brand names,” Tesla added.

The case could oversee the DMV taking drastic action against Tesla, including the potential of revoking the automaker’s license to sell vehicles in California, which is its largest U.S. market. The agency could also force Tesla to pay restitution to drivers of its vehicles with Autopilot and/or the FSD beta.

In its owner’s manuals, and inside its cars when driving, Tesla notes that Autopilot users are to keep their hands on the wheel at all times and to be ready to regain control of the vehicle.

“Basic Autopilot is a hands-on feature,” Tesla says in the manual. “Keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times and be mindful of road conditions, surrounding traffic, and other road users (such as pedestrians and cyclists). Always be prepared to take immediate action. Failure to follow these instructions could cause damage, serious injury, or death.”

Tesla also provides the following warning in its manual under the FSD beta heading:

“Always remember that Full Self-Driving (Beta) does not make Model 3 autonomous and requires a fully attentive driver who is ready to take immediate action at all times. While Full Self-Driving (Beta) is engaged, you must monitor your surroundings and other road users at all times.”

Despite these warnings, the DMV has previously said that Tesla’s disclaimer “contradicts the original untrue or misleading labels and claims, which is misleading, and does not cure the violation.”

Tesla has received more requests regarding Autopilot and FSD from DOJ

What are your thoughts? Let me know at zach@teslarati.com, find me on X at @zacharyvisconti, or send your tips to us at tips@teslarati.com.

Tesla defends ‘Autopilot’ and ‘FSD’ names in false advertising case


World’s fastest Tesla Model S Plaid undergoes major changes

You may have seen the formerly wrecked, then gutted 2022 Tesla Model S Plaid that had most of its body cut off and set the quarter mile record back in August, but now, it is a completely different creation dubbed the “Plaidessey.”

YouTube channel BoostedBoiz is making another major change by chopping off what little remained of the Plaid and dropping a 2001 Honda Odyssey body onto what’s left to create the “ultimate sleeper.”

In all fairness, the Odyssey body actually fits pretty well over the Model S, with less than two inches separating the wheelbase and only minor changes needed for the fenders.

One hurdle was the B pillar of the van not lining to where the Model S had its B pillar, but once the front windshield of the Model S was cut off, it made the accessibility into the car much easier.

The “Plaidessey” halfway through the changes (Credit: BoostedBoiz YouTube)

Before this major alteration, they set the Model S Plaid quarter mile world record by running 8.71 seconds down the dragstrip after cutting off the body and adding an aluminum shell to help with aerodynamics.

After setting the world record, they ran into another problem with the suspension getting stuck in low mode and even took it by a couple of Tesla dealerships in Florida to see if they could help with the issue. Unsurprisingly they weren’t able to get much help considering the changes made.

They were eventually able to enlist the help of Electrified Garage to help narrow down their issues and get a replacement part shipped out to fix the suspension.

Check out the transformation on the BoostedBoiz’s channel below!

What do you think of this creation from a 2022 Model S Plaid turned “Cyberkart” and now the “Plaidessey?”

Questions or comments? Shoot me an email at rangle@teslarati.com, or Tweet me @RDAnglePhoto.

World’s fastest Tesla Model S Plaid undergoes major changes


Tesla Sweden prioritizes employee safety as they receive threats 

Tesla and IF Metall’s battle in Sweden is reaching dangerous levels as the automaker reports that employees have received threats on social media. Tesla is now prioritizing the safety of employees while the IF Metall strike continues. 

Jönköpings-Posten (JP) recently visited Tesla’s new facility in Hedenstorp and talked with a representative from the Texas-based automaker. 

“It is a sensitive situation. There have been threats on social media, and we want to protect the safety of the employees in this situation; our highest priority is their security,” the Tesla representative told JP.

During its visit to Tesla’s Hedenstorp facility, JP was not permitted to take photos of workers or ask them questions about the IF Metall strike. Tesla also forbids JP from publishing any worker’s names. JP was directed to Tesla’s written statement regarding any questions about the IF Metall strike.

The answer to how many workers are actually on strike has been elusive. Tesla claims 90% of its employees are still working because it is counting all its workers in Sweden. Indeed, many Tesla employees have chosen not to join the IF Metalls strike; even the union’s contract secretary, Veli-Pekka Säikkälä, has alluded to it. 

IF Metall’s numbers are a little more nuanced. The union only counts Tesla workers within its contractural area, meaning those who are members of IF Metalls. In addition, white-collar workers are not included among its members. The union states that half of Tesla’s mechanics are members of IF Metall, and not all of them had joined the strike.

IF Metall’s board will assess each Tesla union member who has not joined the strike. Some of them may be excluded from the union. Veli-Pekka shared listed several reasons workers might not join the strike. 

“There are migration cases, people from third countries afraid of their residence permit. Some people are on probation and fear for their employment. There are also EU citizens who want to build a life in Sweden and fear that they will have to move from Sweden again. Some are afraid of what happens after the conflict. You have heard from other countries about trade unions fired at Tesla.”

The Teslarati team would appreciate hearing from you. If you have any tips, contact me at maria@teslarati.com or via X @Writer_01001101.

Tesla Sweden prioritizes employee safety as they receive threats