(Yicai Global) March 3 -- Tesla has admitted that some of its Shanghai-made Model 3 vehicles were not fitted with the latest autopilot hardware suite as given on the car's specifications due to supply chain difficulties amid the novel coronavirus epidemic.
As supply chains for Tesla's Shanghai factory were affected by the Covid-19 virus infection, the hardware installed on some Model 3's Standard-Range Plus version was downgraded to HW2.5, the US electric car giant said on its Weibo account today.
Tesla will replace the hardware free of charge once production capacity and supply chains are back to normal, it added.
Dozens of the cars, which began rolling off its new Shanghai Gigafactory production line in January, were installed with the HW2.5 version which uses global chip giant Nvidia's Drive PX2 chip and not the HW3.0 hardware upgrade powered by Tesla's self-developed FSD chip.
In terms of computing power, the new chip is seven times more powerful than the old one, can process 21 times more images per second and its energy consumption is only just over a quarter of the previous version.
For customers who did not choose to have the Full Self-Driving function, there is basically no difference in the user experience and car safety parameters for vehicles equipped with HW2.5, the carmaker said. For those who did select this function, their cars were pre-installed with HW3.0.
"This is a kind of fraud, and car owners should be able to demand the unconditional return of the vehicles they bought and ask for compensation to the value of triple their losses," a disgruntled vehicle owner said online.
Some are suing Tesla through a platform that safeguards consumers' legal rights and many of them have also directly filed their complaints to the California-based carmaker. It also calls into question the quality of domestically made Tesla cars.
Some imported Model 3s had the same issue earlier last year, online news portal Auto Sohu reported today. A car owner surnamed Wang from Chengdu in southwestern Sichuan province has been wrestling with a lawsuit with Tesla for over half a year. The court has made an initial ruling but unfortunately Wang's lawyer has not been able to see the verdict yet due to the disruption caused by the epidemic.
Editor: Kim Taylor