Tesla Regains Some Approval From Consumer Reports For Restoring Low-Speed Emergency Braking

Consumer Reports has raised Tesla’s safety scores but expects to see improvements made at highway speeds.

The product review magazine has restored some of the points taken away in April from the Tesla Model S and Model X over the automatic emergency braking (AEB) system being removed as a standard feature on these vehicles in October 2016.

Some of the points were restored after Tesla issued a software upgrade restoring AEB in the affected vehicles soon after the report was published. Consumer Reports observes that some customers had been waiting as long as six months for it to happen.

Winning back all the restored rating points and improved Overall Scores for the Model S and Model X will need to have AEB working at higher speeds. The publication wants to see AEB issued as a standard offering up to high speeds, and that it’s a crucial safety feature known for preventing crashes.

Tesla had committed to sending out the improvement through software upgrades on April 21 of this year. The company started transmitting the over-the-air updates on April 26. The publication’s testing team received their Model S update the next day.

The activated AEB only works up to 28 mph – a wide gap from the earlier version of AEB that could go up to 90 mph. That was a realistic range for Tesla drivers known for gunning the torque power from their Model S or Model X.

The testing team made contact with Tesla owners to see if the low-speed AEB was being received in their vehicles. Most owners with new models had received the updates within a week of the April 26 announcement.

Yet some of the owners who’d purchased their Tesla without the option of full self-driving capability had received updates that did not include AEB. It took even longer for them to receive the update.

CR reported that it took close to a month for Tesla to finally deliver the partial updates. After Tesla owners reported receiving their updates, the magazine restored the partial points.

On April 26, the electric carmaker said that AEB would eventually bring the safety system up to highway speeds. The company didn’t say when it would happen or respond to inquiries about it.

The AEB system originally had given Tesla points that put the Model S at the top rating in the ultra-luxury vehicle category; that ad been knocked down after the rating drop was issued in April. The Model X was near the bottom of the luxury midsized sport-utility category after the points were taken away.

SEE ALSO:  Tesla Reinstates Auto Braking After Consumer Reports Downgrade

The absence of AEB first became an issue on October 19, 2016, when CEO Elon Musk said the automaker would be equipping all of its vehicles with fully autonomous features on all new vehicles produced starting later that month. It would still need supporting software and approval by safety regulators before being activated in Tesla vehicles, he said.

Musk acknowledged that the new hardware would mean that some basic safety features would be missing for a while. The software would have to be rewritten and validated, he said.

The Consumer Report test team had purchased a Model S 60D on Dec. 12 and found that the AEB wasn’t functioning like it had in the previous version. It was equipped with the second-generation Autopilot hardware.

That finding led to a back-and-forth tiff with Tesla that the carmaker has been working on cleaning up.

Consumer Reports

 


More Hybrid News...