Court Orders Tesla to Buy Back Model 3 After Customer Complains Autopilot Is Like ‘Drunk Novice Driver’

by Clayton Edwards

Elon Musk‘s Tesla is, without a doubt, the most recognizable name in electric vehicles. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re putting out the best products in the industry. For instance, the autopilot feature on Tesla’s vehicles has caused the automaker several headaches. In the past couple of years, the feature has come under investigation from multiple regulatory entities in the United States after a rash of wrecks involving the cars. Now, a German court has ruled that Tesla has to buy back a Model 3 from a customer who claims that the autopilot drives like a “drunk novice driver.”  

At a Glance

  • A German customer filed a lawsuit against Tesla after being disappointed in the autopilot in his Model 3.
  • The court ruled against Tesla, ordering it to buy the car back from the unhappy customer.
  • Tesla appealed the ruling claiming that a future software update could fix the issue.
  • The automaker can’t say when an update will be available.

Tesla Owner Claims Model 3 Autopilot Feature Is Faulty

A German Tesla owner filed a lawsuit against the automaker after the Full Self-Driving Package – which includes the autopilot feature – on his Model 3 appeared to be faulty. According to Jalopnik, the German court ordered the automaker to buy the vehicle back from the unhappy customer.  

However, Tesla may not be completely at fault in the case of the autopilot feature on the Model 3. Some European regulations don’t allow them as much freedom in the self-driving area as U.S. regulations do. However, it seems that the automaker didn’t make that clear to its European customers. This gets a little worse when you take into account that customers across the pond are paying €6,300, or almost $7,000 on top of the already-high Tesla price tag for those features.

Electrek translated a report from the German news outlet Der Spiegel about the court case. That report stated, “The steering behavior at entrances and exits of motorway junctions is spongy and resembles that of a ‘drunk novice driver’.” However, that’s not the worst part of the complaint. The report goes on to say that the autopilot feature in the Tesla Model 3 failed to recognize stop signs and traffic lights. Additionally, other functions like automatically passing slower vehicles and automatic lane changes and automatic parking didn’t work.

In the end, the court ordered Tesla to buy the Model 3 back from the customer who was unhappy with autopilot and other features. The ruling will cost the automaker €69,000 or right around $76,000.

Tesla Plans Appeals the Court’s Ruling

 Tesla claims that there was no defect in autopilot or other self-driving features of the Model 3. The automaker went on to claim that all of the issues could have been repaired with hardware and software updates. Those updates, it said, are free. However, the automaker doesn’t know when the software update will be available, per Electrek.

Tesla also stated that “Systems and features worked as intended and in accordance with the current regulations for autonomous driving in Germany.” As a result, they’ve appealed the court’s ruling.