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Electric Vehicle Lemon Law

The popularity of electric vehicles is clearly on the rise in California and nationwide, which begs the question, “Is there an electric vehicle lemon law?” Yes, the California Lemon Law applies to electric vehicles, but because these vehicles are such a recent innovation, case law is still evolving.

California has a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) goal of 1.5 million vehicles by 2025, so the number of electric vehicles statewide will certainly rise.  As of 2020, nearly 1.8 million EVs were registered in the U.S., more than three times the number in 2016, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).  A recent Pew Research Center survey, shows that 7% of American adults said they now have an electric or hybrid vehicle, and 39% of these adults said they were somewhat or very likely to consider buying an electric vehicle the next time they purchase a car, truck or SUV.

If you’re having problems with a defective electric vehicle, your best bet is to call an attorney to discuss your options for an electric vehicle lemon law claim.  The skilled California Lemon Law lawyers at Neale & Fhima have helped hundreds of clients successfully win their lemon law cases with gas-powered vehicles.  Our firm has a 99% record of success in lemon law cases.  We will hold electric vehicle manufacturers accountable and get the justice you deserve.  Call us for a free consultation at 888-407-2955.

Neale & Fhima has a 99% success rate in lemon law cases.

The Current State of Electric Vehicle Lemon Law


Because electric vehicles are such a recently developed product, case law is currently developing around electric vehicle lemon law nationwide. Let’s take a closer look at recent cases …

TESLA

Tesla is one of the most well-know and prestigious electric vehicles on the road today.  It is the fastest-growing auto brand worldwide and the leading electric vehicle brand.  Tesla’s vehicle deliveries reach nearly 500,000 in 2020. Auto sales in the same year accounted for over 26 billion dollars being brought into the company. It’s no surprise that Tesla may produce a lemon from time to time, however, what is surprising is the lengths they’ll go to deny those lemon law claims.

One of the early Tesla electric vehicle lemon law claims in California was filed in 2016 by the owner of a $162,000 Tesla Model X, saying the car exhibited “weird” behavior.  The high-profile lawsuit was filed in Placer County Court in Roseville, CA.  The plaintiff claimed the vehicle’s electronically actuated, dual-hinged falcon wing doors slammed shut on his leg and caused property damage when they malfunctioned.  The plaintiff also alleged that the Tesla auto pilot was dangerous in the rain; the touch navigation screen froze repeatedly; and the auto park feature was defective, among other things.  The owner, Barrett Lyon, even made a video to help prove his point.  Video Link: https://youtu.be/pYJqej_ER2E  Ultimately, Tesla took back the vehicle and settled out of court.

A 2014 Tesla lemon law claim in Wisconsin alleging technical defects in a Tesla Model S resulted in a $126,836 settlement.  The vehicle reportedly spent 66 days in the repair shop in the first 6 months of ownership.  Before settling the case out of court, Tesla loudly criticized the vehicle owner in the company’s blog.

Other issues experienced with Tesla vehicles also include poor finishing or quality control resulting in the misalignment of vehicle panels, pillars, and even lights.

If your Tesla or electric vehicle is experiencing electrical issues or other issues whether or not related to the EV battery or powertrain, you may have a valid lemon law claim.

OTHER ELECTRIC VEHICLE MANUFACTURERS

There are now many manufacturers of electric vehicles, from economy cars to luxury SUVs. Some of these are:

  • Audi e-tron 50 & 55
  • BMW i3
  • Chevrolet Bolt EV
  • Ford Focus Electric and Mustang Mach-E
  • Honda Clarity Electric
  • Hyundai Ioniq Electric & Kona Electric
  • Kia Soul EV & e-Niro
  • Mercedes-Benz B Class Electric & EQC
  • Mitsubishi i-MiEV
  • Nissan Leaf
  • Porsche Taycan
  • Tesla Model S, Model X, Model 3 and Model Y
  • Volkswagen e-up!, ID.4 and ID.3

The attorneys at Neale & Fhima will aggressively represent you in an electric vehicle lemon law claim, and we are committed to success in every one of these cases.

California’s Lemon Law


A “lemon” is a car, truck, utility vehicle or SUV that is defective. Whether the problem started immediately when you drove the vehicle off the dealership lot or it began many months later, the defect is chronic, and mechanics can’t seem to fix it. From brakes that don’t work to malfunctioning airbags, there are many types of mechanical and electrical problems that can render a vehicle defective.

The Lemon Law in California states that your vehicle must have “nonconformities,” which are defined as any defect or malfunction that is covered by the original warranty. Nonconformities impact a vehicle’s:

  • Safety
  • Use, or
  • Value.

Under the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, if you purchase a defective vehicle, you are legally entitled to a refund, or the vehicle can be replaced at the manufacturer’s expense. However, you must prove that it’s a lemon according to legal guidelines, and that’s where a skilled California lemon law lawyer can help.  If it turns out that you do have a lemon car or truck, you can pursue a legal remedy in court.  There’s also a “federal lemon law” that is known as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act that may come into play with your lemon.

Before being eligible to file a claim, you need to have made a “reasonable number of attempts” to get your new vehicle repaired. While the law is somewhat vague about how many trips to the mechanic constitute a “reasonable number” of repair attempts, you need to give the dealership a sincere opportunity to fix it first before commencing legal action.

If you are successful in your electric vehicle lemon law claim, you can:
1. have the manufacturer repurchase your vehicle
2. have the manufacturer replace your vehicle
3. negotiate a cash settlement with the manufacturer, in some cases.

Building an Electric Vehicle Lemon Law Claim


If you’re wondering “does the lemon law cover electric vehicles?”, the answer is yes, but your best bet is to talk to a qualified California lemon law attorney who can evaluate your individual circumstances. Here are some things you can do now to prepare:

  • Gather up the purchase documents you received from the dealership at time of sale.
  • Collect all your repair receipts, work orders and spare parts from every repair attempt.
  • Make a list of each defect you have discovered, including descriptions of how it affects the vehicle’s use, value and/or safety.
  • Take photos, when appropriate, of the defect.
  • Hire a skilled electric vehicle lemon law attorney.

There are many defects that could give rise to a lemon law claim, provided the defect substantially impacts the use, value or safety of the vehicle.

Prevalent defects that electrical cars suffer from include:

  • Poor acceleration
  • Radio and navigation problems
  • Doors and/or windows opening and closing unexpectedly
  • Air conditioning problems
  • Noise complaints
  • Braking problems (not just squeaking)
  • Fuel gauges and speedometer don’t work
  • Battery dies regularly, or drains irregularly
  • Steering issues
  • Finishing defects

Keep in mind that the California lemon law covers both new and used vehicles, though not all used vehicles will qualify.  There are special conditions for used cars, and an attorney can answer your questions about that.  The California Attorney General’s Office provides a Car Buyer’s Bill of Rights and explains more about lemon law on its website.

Statute of Limitations


There is a four-year statute of limitations on Lemon Law claims is California.  The four-year window begins when you first noticed or should have noticed the defect.  If you’re unclear whether your claim meets the statute of limitations, talk to the experienced lemon law attorneys at Neale & Fhima to get answers.  Call 888-407-2955.

Which Lemon Law Remedy? The Choice is Yours.


A successful lemon law claim puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes time to select the form of compensation. Here are the two primary remedies:

Option A: Repurchase
The manufacturer will take possession of the vehicle and issue you a refund of the purchase price (reduced by the value of your use of the vehicle prior to the first repair attempt). If you financed the vehicle, the manufacturer will refund the payments, down payment, and pay off the loan. You will also receive a refund of registration fees, taxes, etc.

Option B: Replacement
The manufacturer will take possession of the vehicle and provide you with a new one. It must be an identical or substantially similar vehicle. The manufacturer will pay the registration and taxes on the new vehicle, but you will not receive a refund of fees or finance charges paid on the original vehicle. This option requires the consent of both parties.

In some circumstances, we may be able to negotiate an additional option called a “cash and keep.” This would allow you to retain possession of the vehicle and receive a cash payment to compensate for the defect.

An Electric Vehicle Lemon Lawyer Who Excels


All attorneys are not created equal.  You want an aggressive, winning attorney on your side.  At Neale & Fhima, we have a 99% success rate in lemon law cases.  Few attorneys can top that!  Get to know our top-notch lawyers by reading their attorney bios.  You can also check out our client testimonials and read what our satisfied clients have to say.  The team at Neale & Fhima is committed to each client’s case, and we give you our full attention.  Our attorneys are aggressive with insurance companies, going toe-to-toe with them to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients.  Our legal team is committed to exceptional client service, and we will  stay in communication with your throughout the process.

Here are a few of the reasons you should choose us:

  • Years of Experience.  Our attorneys have more than 40 years of combined experience representing clients throughout Southern California.
  • Our Lawyers Win Cases.  Neale & Fhima enjoys a 99% success rate! We think this says a lot about the skill of our attorneys. While we cannot guarantee the outcome of any particular case, you can take comfort in knowing your claim is being handled by lemon law lawyers who have a track record of success.
  • We Value Client Relationships.  High-volume law offices tend to think of clients as nothing more than a case file. The file gets passed around until it ends up with a paralegal or junior associate who just wants to finish it and move on. Neale & Fhima is different. We enjoy getting to know our clients. It also helps us craft settlement agreements that meet their individual needs.
  • We Know the Law.  California’s electric vehicle lemon law is a fine example of how the state legislature can empower consumers. When it comes to clarity, however, the text of the statute leaves much to be desired. Our attorneys understand the quirks of the statute, as well as the many court opinions interpreting it. We put this knowledge to work for you.
  • No Surprises.  A handful of manufacturers control most of the U.S. electric vehicle market. We repeatedly go up against these same companies. This allows us to anticipate how they will respond to claims involving specific mechanical and electrical defects. Our attorneys will share these insights with you from day one, so you are never in the dark about what to expect.
  • Free Consultations.  We will always discuss your situation with you in a free initial consultation before you make any decisions about a claim.

Contact Neale & Fhima Today


If you’re fed up with driving a defective electric vehicle, then it may be time to look for a legal remedy.  The electric vehicle lemon law is designed to protect consumers from cars, trucks and SUVs that have chronic flaws.  A skilled electric vehicle lemon law lawyer can explain your rights under the law and file a claim on your behalf.  Neale & Fhima has represented hundreds of clients in these cases, and we have a winning track record.  Our firm has a 99% success rate in lemon law cases.  To find out more about how we can help, call us at 888-407-2955 for a free initial consultation.

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