Tesla Model 3: Consumer Reports backflips on 'don't buy' verdict

31 May, 2018, 20:41 | Author: Lora Ball
  • Tesla spikes after Model 3 gets Consumer Reports' recommendation on its 2nd try (TSLA)

"I've never seen a vehicle that could improve its track performance with an over-the-air update", said Jake Fisher, the director of auto testing at Consumer Reports.

The improved braking distances raised the Model 3's overall score enough for the auto to be recommended.

After the first round of testing was made public, Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised to fix the problem within days. Although this update improved the car's stopping distances, the braking performance is not class-leading.

The magazine says the wireless update of antilock braking software cut 19 feet from the car's stopping distance from 60 miles per hour.

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After giving Tesla (TSLA) a failing grade on its Model 3 sedan, Consumer Reports reversed its position Wednesday and gave the electric vehicle its recommendation. Ultimately, the Model 3 firmware update pushed out this past weekend was enough to raise the compact electric car's Overall Score enough to warrant a "Recommended" rating. While a few other automakers have begun employing OTA updates for some features in the vehicle, typically for infotainment changes, right now only Tesla offers these sort of in-depth modifications without a visit to a service center. Changes to the Model 3's UI - which has been a target of concern over just how much of the interface has been shifted to the central touchscreen, rather than given dedicated hardware controls - are expected later in the month, Musk promises. Musk said a year ago that Tesla was in discussions with the government, requesting temporary waiver of import penalties and other restrictions until a local facility is built.

"I've been at CR for 19 years and tested more than 1,000 cars", says Jake Fisher, the magazine's director of auto testing, "and I've never seen a vehicle that could improve its track performance with an over-the-air update". And it comes at a critical time for Tesla, which has struggled to ramp up production of the Model 3 and is facing pressure from unhappy activist investor groups to bring on more independent board members. Nevertheless, Musk has posted a few tips to improve the Model 3's wind noise and ride quality. "Road noise and ride comfort already addressed too". Consumer Reports said it will rent another Model 3 from Tesla to check on the changes and will report back on the results.

A Tesla (TSLA) spokesperson told the magazine the software was updated to improve the brakes' performance with different drivers and in varying environmental conditions.

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