It's amazing what over-the-air updates can accomplish.
When Consumer Reports determined it could not recommend the Tesla Model 3 after recent testing, Tesla CEO Elon Musk decided that outcome was unacceptable. Fortunately, the solution was a relatively easy fix, and also a quick one. The issue at hand was the Model 3’s braking distance from 60 mph to standstill; it was worse than that of a full-size pickup truck. CR stated it would be willing to conduct a re-test once Tesla remedied the issue. Not only has that re-test been done, but CR has now put the Model 3 on its coveted “Recommended” list.
Mind you, all of the above happened over the past week, so it’s to Tesla’s full credit that it responded so fast to such an important issue. Musk vowed to release an over-the-air update within days, and he was true to his word. “I’ve been at CR for 19 years and tested more than 1,000 cars,” said Jake Fisher, director of auto testing at Consumer Reports, “and I’ve never seen a car that could improve its track performance with an over-the-air update.” Tesla informed CR that it “had improved the software for the EV’s antilock braking system to adapt to variations in how the brakes might be used and to respond to different environmental conditions.” When it was originally tested, the Model 3 required 152 feet to stop from 60 mph.
The Ford F-150, by comparison, did the same in 145 feet. The Tesla Model X made the stop in 127 feet. Now that it’s been retested with the newly downloaded software, CR claims the stopping distance is 133 feet. Tesla claims the same number from its own in-house testing. More importantly, 133 feet is perfectly acceptable and right in line with other compact cars. Although CR now recommends the Model 3, other issues it originally had with the car are still there, such as excess wind noise and an uncomfortable rear seat. Tesla says those problems have already been fixed in later production vehicles. In the meantime, CR says it’ll rent another Model 3 directly from Tesla to access whether those issues have been taken care of.