Consumer Reports has said it will retest the Tesla Model 3 it purchased to confirm that a promised firmware update to the braking system corrects the poor and inconsistent emergency stopping distances the publication reported.
“If Tesla can update the brakes over the air – an industry first – we’d be happy to retest our Model 3,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports‘ director of automatic testing.
The rather doubtful tone of Fisher’s response echoes our own skepticism of how an over-the-air software update will change braking distances. Nevertheless, if Tesla can do it, then Consumer Reports will be in a position to indicate whether it was successful. Remember, the publication purchased its Model 3, just as any other consumer might.
Another publication that purchased a Model 3, Edmunds.com, did not experience the same braking distance inconsistency, but its reported emergency stop from 60 mph in 130 feet is still longer than average.
Frankly, the question of whether an over-the-air update can correct a braking problem glosses over the fact that there was such a fundamental flaw with a vital vehicle system in the first place. The brakes are not the same as a touchscreen infotainment system. It’s fair to ask how Tesla’s own vehicle testing didn’t reveal the issue, since it was experienced in two different Model 3s that Consumer Reports tested as well as a third tested by Car and Driver. It’s also fair to ask if Tesla owners are effectively conducting the extensive vehicle testing car manufacturers normally do before a car is brought to market.
We definitely want to know what this over-the-air update will correct and what difference it will make when Consumer Reports‘ car has it installed.