For some shoppers, the thought of hoovering up all the electrons in an EV’s battery pack before making it to the next plug is enough cause to not consider an electric car at all. In some parts of the country, opportunities for recharging are more sparse than opportunities for refuelling a gasoline-powered car, which certainly adds a dose of legitimacy to the concern.
Automakers, for their part, loudly tout the estimated range of their EV offerings in a bid to alleviate these concerns. In the case of Chevrolet, it lists the Bolt’s range at a heady 238 miles, or 380 kilometres in Queen’s English.
One customer in South Dakota has brought legal action against The General, claiming that number is misleading. The plaintiff, Jason Haas, says he bought a Chevy Bolt from a local dealer but has experienced a range of significantly less than the advertised figure, particularly in the cold winter months. He claims his Bolt’s total range was considerably less during these times – by a hundred miles, in fact.
Most EV owners know their vehicle’s range will suffer from about Thanksgiving to Easter, given the natural tendency of batteries to lose their mojo when the mercury dips. Anyone who’s tried to use a smartphone in frigid temperatures will have experience with this frustrating behaviour. Electric cars are not immune to this quirk and will run out of juice in cold weather more quickly than they do in warmer months.
For its part, GM is seeking to have the suit thrown out. They make the point that their literature explains the estimated maximum range is subject to a variety of factors, including temperature and terrain. A quick and basic amount of internet research about the subject reveals the same. There is also the complication that, technically, Haas didn’t buy the car from GM. He bought it from a dealer, a place at which he could have voiced concerns or been educated on the finer points of EV ownership by sales staff.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff alleges “At no time during his purchase did GMC make him aware that the project [sic] mileage was not accurate, and as a purchaser living in South Dakota – where the lower temperature average is below 30 degrees Fahrenheit for six out of the 12 calendar months.” The spelling mistakes and reference to a brand (GMC) which has no bearing to the actual vehicle in question could be problematic for Haas. The lawsuit is seeking class-action status on the grounds of breached warranties, fraudulent misrepresentation, and selling a vehicle with manufacturing and design defects.
GM’s motion to dismiss says the allegations are “vague” and “inadequately pled”. A ruling on The General’s motion is pending.
Source: Des Moines Register