Niall Darwin, an owner of an electric bike shop in the small seaside town of Raglan, picked up a damaged Tesla 90D as an insurance write-off at an auction in Australia a year ago for $40,000, a quarter of the new-car price, New Zealand media outlet Newshub reports.
Before fixing the vehicle, the man got reassurance from Tesla Sydney that he was entitled to free access to Tesla's Supercharger network of high-speed refill stations for life. After that, Darwin had his new vehicle rebuilt for $60,000 and had it recertified and approved by Tesla.
However, when he brought it to New Zealand and tried to obtain power at a local supercharging station, it turned out that the function was not available.
Tesla told Darwin that it would not provide supercharging or software support, without which the car would have virtually no value, because it was an insurance write-off in Australia. "Due to the extreme amount of damage that this vehicle had, we are not comfortable [knowing] if it is safe and do not want to do anything that could increase this risk even further," Tesla said in a statement to Newshub, citing customer safety concerns.
After Darwin posted a video on YouTube, spotlighting his case, Tesla offered him fast charging — another way of recharging the car which is, nevertheless several times slower than supercharging.
Although the man called the option "still wonderful", he's still dissatisfied with Tesla not giving him the promised supercharging. He has filed a claim in the New Zealand Disputes Tribunal to get $20,000 in compensation.
"Hope the papers come and spoil one of your weekends cos' you've spoiled several months of my live. I love your car, but I hate the way you're treating customers like me," he said in a video posted after he had filed the papers in court.