‘The car is a lemon’: Die-hard EV fan takes Tesla to NCAT after five-year ordeal with $93,000 Model S

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A NSW mum-of-three and diehard electrical conveyance protagonist is seeking a refund from Tesla aft a five-year ordeal with her $93,000 Model S, saying portion it’s “the champion car I volition ever own” it has “also been the astir terrifyingly unreliable”.

Anne Bishop, from Nambucca Heads connected the mid-north coast, purchased the second-hand 2015 Model S 70 from Tesla successful 2018 but began experiencing problems wrong weeks of purchase.

Over the past five-and-a-half years, Ms Bishop says the car has experienced 12 large failures and much than 2 twelve insignificant failures, requiring towing connected 4 occasions up to 500 kilometres each time.

“The bottommost enactment is it’s a lemon,” she said.

“I don’t cognize wherefore they can’t conscionable instrumentality it back. I bash deliberation my acquisition with my car is unique. I’ve met truthful galore radical with a Model S that person ne'er [had immoderate of these issues].”

Ms Bishop, who is “passionate astir sustainable technology” and has been a instrumentality of EVs since her archetypal electrical motorbike successful 2008, lodged a lawsuit with the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) past period seeking a “substantial” partial refund from Tesla.

“I emotion my car,” she said.

“It is the champion car I volition ever own, but it has besides been the astir terrifyingly unreliable. I don’t privation to thrust thing else. I conscionable privation to beryllium capable to trust connected my car to bash what it is intended to bash — drive.”

In 1 lawsuit she “had to ascent successful the rider window, 7 months large erstwhile aggregate doorway handles failed”, according to Ms Bishop.

“It has breached down connected maine connected the mode location from ED with my son, yet requiring towing owed to yet different MCU [media power unit] failure,” she said.

With 3 young children aged two, 4 and 7 each with “varying degrees of disability”, Ms Bishop is acold from souring connected Tesla oregon EVs arsenic a whole.

“We’ve adjacent gone up and bought a Tesla artillery for the location portion this was going connected and replaced my husband’s aged ICE car with a Model Y,” she said.

“It’s a leap of religion but we judge successful the technology.”

When it works, she says driving her Tesla is “brilliant”.

“They’ve changed the aboriginal of transportation,” she said.

“I deliberation autopilot has saved our lives. It’s astir apt the 1 singular crushed we went for different Tesla. I genuinely bash deliberation it’s saved our lives, we’re truthful sleep-deprived. It does request supervising similar a toddler with scissors — connected juncture it tries to thrust you disconnected the roadworthy for nary bully reason. But the cognitive load it takes disconnected your shoulders, it makes agelong drives successful peculiar overmuch much enjoyable and relaxing.”

In her 16-page NCAT complaint, Ms Bishop accuses Tesla of repeatedly misrepresenting Australian Consumer Law, failing to support capable records of responsibility logs and explicit warranties, keeping the bulk of connection unwritten and refusing to enactment statements successful writing, and failing to supply definite documentation astir the car’s maintenance.

“As overmuch arsenic I judge successful Tesla’s imaginativeness for the aboriginal of transportation, I would not person purchased this car, had I known however unreliable it would be, nor however dishonest Tesla would repeatedly be,” she wrote.

Tesla’s modular warranty play is 4 years.

The car had 2 warranties, a nose-to-tail warranty which expired successful November 2022, and artillery and drive-train warranty which expired successful November 2023.

Under Australian Consumer Law, consumer guarantee rights — which whitethorn beryllium much extended than the manufacturer’s warranty — tin use if a large nonaccomplishment occurs extracurricular the warranty period.

Ms Bishop said portion she ever expected determination would beryllium “road bumps” with caller technology, she yet had capable and thought “oh gosh, this is ridiculous” erstwhile the car broke down 2 months retired of warranty “on a engaged roadworthy astatine unreserved hr with 3 tiny kids and a canine successful the car”.

Tesla recovered the rear thrust centrifugal had failed, arsenic good arsenic the RH maestro charger.

The MCU, fundamentally the encephalon of the car, has besides suffered continual malfunctions and failures since acquisition and continues to malfunction contempt being repaired 3 times, according to Ms Bishop.

“It’s ne'er worked properly,” she said. “It throws the astir random errors. I spell and parkland it sometimes and travel backmost to find a model open. So galore weird, random things, individually they’re insignificant but the information it’s been five-and-a-half years without a diagnosis is conscionable weird.”

Tesla yet paid to regenerate the thrust portion astatine a outgo of astir $10,000, but Ms Bishop had to wage to regenerate the RH maestro charger and the MCU, which she says is inactive not moving properly.

“I paid $8500 to get the car back,” she said.

Later going backmost implicit her location artillery charging logs, she noticed what appeared to beryllium issues with the RH maestro charger going backmost arsenic acold arsenic August 2022 — wrong the warranty play — but noted the car “never pushed immoderate notifications of this failure” which was besides not identified by Tesla during an end-of-warranty work successful October 2022.

She further alleges that aft a insignificant scrape with a postulation cone conscionable aft purchase, a sheet beater recovered grounds that “rats had been nesting successful the car”.

“Given this was not detected by Tesla anterior to the proviso of this vehicle, I bash not judge they met their ain explicit warranty and misleadingly portrayed that this conveyance had

passed the [Certified Pre-Owned] Standard,” she said successful her complaint.

She is seeking a refund of the $8500 repair measure positive a partial refund of $75,000 for the car purchase.

A mediation connected Friday was unsuccessful and the lawsuit has been acceptable for a afloat hearing.

Ms Bishop has been asked to supply NCAT with an autarkic adept report, which could outgo her up to $3000.

In her complaint, Ms Bishop cites statements made by Tesla main enforcement Elon Musk “regarding the longevity, durability and prime of engineering and manufacturing successful Tesla cars” arsenic contributing to her determination to acquisition the car, arsenic good arsenic “express warranties” implied successful his online comments.

“Wanted to accidental acknowledgment to each that ain oregon ordered a Tesla,” Mr Musk said successful 1 tweet cited successful the complaint. “It matters to america that you took a hazard connected a caller car company. We won’t forget.”

Ms Bishop said if she were Tesla “and this had been the acquisition of 1 of my customers, I’d beryllium giving them a caller car, a afloat refund and an apology”.

“My past car was a $13,800 Toyota Echo,” she said.

“It went for 13 years utterly flawlessly, ne'er had truthful overmuch arsenic an unexpected repair. I expected overmuch amended from Tesla. When I bought the car I told [the income rep] I was blessed to support my Echo for 13 years, I’m definite I’ll beryllium blessed to support this for 20. He said, ‘Absolutely.’”

Tesla has been contacted for comment.

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