The reason for the penalty is, among other things, the allegation that Tesla did not comply with laws that affect the take-back obligations for battery products.
The automaker writes in the report that the allegations are mainly about “administrative obligations” and that Tesla is still taking battery packs back from its vehicles. According to its own information from the annual report, the company filed an objection to the decision. “Although we cannot foresee the outcome of the proceedings, including the final amount of the penalty, we have filed an objection and it is not to be expected that it will have a materially negative impact on our business,” it said.
What happens after an accident?
The background is apparently the German Battery Act, which stipulates that manufacturers of e-cars must take back the batteries they sell or name a disposal partner. Tesla is said to have violated this. What at first glance looks as if German pedantry is tackling a hopeful of the mobility transition, quickly turns out to be a tangible, larger problem. Not least for Tesla customers.
Because with take-back and disposal is not only meant the previously rather theoretical scenario that the battery in the electric car will reach the end of its life cycle and should be recycled. The main question is what happens to the highly complex energy storage systems in the event of damage, for example due to an accident.
If the battery catches fire, for example, it becomes a problem. Even fires involving small lithium-ion batteries have to be extinguished with immense amounts of water. The battery pack then has to be cooled in water for weeks. If it can no longer be separated from the car, the entire vehicle must be sunk into a special container filled with water.
But so far there have been few contact points for precisely this difficult procedure. While owners of normal cars can dispose of their damaged body at any scrap dealer, owners of electric cars have to turn to specialist companies that are specially certified for the complex disposal procedures. So far they are in short supply. (Read here how complicated the disposal of an electric car can be.)
Tesla could not be reached for a statement to the AFP news agency. The Federal Environment Agency announced that one was not allowed to comment on ongoing proceedings.
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