Could Tesla Vehicles Be Classified As Lemons When Autopilot Fails?
on January 25, 2020

The definition of a lemon is simple. Basically, your vehicle is a lemon if the same defect renders it inoperable at least three times inside of a year or a certain number of miles. This definition may vary slightly depending on the state where you live. It has a lot of people questioning how the lemon law works when a car’s software is to blame for the malfunction. Because software is a relatively new implementation in the cars we drive, the jury is still out.

Tesla in particular is under fire.

The car manufacturer’s “autopilot” feature essential turns a Tesla vehicle into an automated, driverless machine on certain roads or in certain situations. The driver is still supposed to keep his hands on the wheel because the software is still learning from its mistakes, but the car itself is in charge. 

Although almost every case of autopilot’s failure has been attributed to an unaware driver, people are still questioning whether Tesla is doing enough to ensure a driver’s attention stays on the road even when autopilot is activated. 

If autopilot fails to prevent an accident three times, could the vehicle be considered a lemon? Technically, yes, you could probably argue that in court. But autopilot is still preventing more accidents than it’s causing. You’d be hard-pressed to find one Tesla vehicle that has been in three accidents, all due to a malfunctioning autopilot. 

Tesla is opening up its vehicles to new states. Michigan is the next on the list. Sort of. Residents of Michigan will be allowed to purchase Tesla vehicles directly from the manufacturer in California, something that was impossible before now. That was because of a law stipulating that auto manufacturers could not legally sell vehicles directly to the public. It presented a problem because there were no Tesla dealerships in Michigan.

On top of that, not every state is friendly toward Tesla. 

Those who wish to purchase aTesla vehicle in the state of Michigan will still have to title the vehicle elsewhere, and then transfer the title to Michigan. It’s a tedious, time-consuming process, but it should help make things a lot easier for those who want an electric vehicle.

The entire debacle stems from a lawsuit by Tesla. The company alleged that a 2014 law was written specifically to make it more difficult for Tesla to sell vehicles in Michigan, which could have undercut traditional and more influential automakers like Ford or GM. Tesla said the law was unfair to consumers. 

Why is it such a big deal?

Because Tesla doesn’t actually operate traditional dealerships. Instead, it showcases its vehicles in smaller venues in shopping malls, which provide greater visibility. They have one such venue in Michigan, but the law prevented agents from discussing prices or offer to sell one of the vehicles to potential customers — until now.

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