Published in October 2015, the advert for the Tesla Model S made two claims that Ecotricity felt were misleading:
- ‘The World’s Fastest Charging Station’
- ‘Over the five year average length of car ownership, that’s approximately £6,000 in petrol savings’
Ecotricity felt it was not fully clear how the firm formulated its claims and felt the advert was thus misleading.
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However, in its ruling, the ASA accepted that “in the context of advertising about the Tesla Model S, consumers would understand the claim “the World’s Fastest Charging Station” to mean that Tesla Superchargers were the fastest at charging currently available compatible EVs”.
It thus did not break codes for misleading advertising, exaggeration and substantiation.
Ecotricity challenges Tesla
For the second claim, Ecotricity challenged some of the figures used in the savings calculation – Tesla’s assumption that the Superchargers would be used 10% of the time, the cost of electricity and the price of petrol.
In response, Tesla told the ASA its own ‘connected car’ figures showed the percentage of electricity delivered to its cars via Superchargers was 11%; it rounded it down to 10% for the calculation. The electricity cost was based on an European Commission report which included an estimated price of electricity in the UK.
The fuel cost, of £1.17 per litre, was a monthly average between October 2014 and February 2015.
Interestingly, Tesla also based the comparable fuel economy figure of 39.2mpg on that of the BMW 535i – a car it considered had “significantly higher fuel economy than other luxury vehicles closer to the Telsa Model S price point and performance”.
It believes the comparison figure is actually thus conservative, and the saving would be even more impressive had it used figures from the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Porsche Panamera or BMW 7 Series…