After denying it at first, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has admitted flaws in the Tesla Model 3’s emergency braking. Musk has promised a firmware update to the car in coming days to fix the situation.
The issues with braking in the Model 3 emerged when the magazine Consumer Reports declined to give the car a full-throated recommendation. “The Tesla’s stopping distance of 152 feet (43 meters) from 60 mph (95kmh) was far worse than any contemporary car we’ve tested and about 7 feet (2.1 meters) longer than the stopping distance of a Ford F-150 full-sized pickup,” the magazine said in its evaluation.
Stopping distance is a crucial safety factor for any vehicle on the road. Without a proper understanding of the distance needed to stop once the brakes are applied, a crash becomes much more likely.
Tesla disputed Consumer Reports’ numbers, telling the magazine that their own measurements showed a stopping distance from 60 to 0 mph (100km/h to 0 km/h) was an average of 133 feet (40 meters). While that wouldn’t put the Model 3 in the top 20 best stopping distances of all time, it would certainly be a much more respectable number. The company suggested that Consumer Reports’ testing might have been affected by weather conditions on the road.
Other testers have found the Model 3’s braking abilities to be odd. While Car and Driver declared the Model 3 to be the overall winner in a stopping distance competition, that magazine noted a “bizarre amount of variation in our test, which involves six consecutive panic stops—the third of these stops took an interminable 196 feet.”
Musk has now admitted that something is indeed amiss with the Model 3’s braking abilities and vows to fix it.
Fixing braking issues through remote firmware updates is something relatively new. In 2014, for example, when GM discovered defective parking brakes in various models, over 220,000 vehicles had to be recalled. When the Nissan Leaf’s electronic brake booster was found to freeze in cold weather, it too had to be physically recalled.
Of course, there are more Leafs on the road then there are Model 3s. Tesla’s first attempt at a mass-market car, the waiting list for the car has crept near half a million eager buyers. Named Popular Mechanics‘ 2018 Car of The Year, only a fraction of the car’s pre-orders have been filled so far as the company has struggled with what Musk deemed “production hell.”
Musk’s claim that a firmware update will fix the car within “a few days” highlights the level of control Tesla maintains in its cars even after they are purchased. Another such example could be found in Florida last year when the company was able to remotely expand cars battery power as drivers were fleeing a hurricane.
Previously Published By:Popular Mechanics USA