Tesla Hits Back After Troubled Model 3 Braking Tests

Sam McEachern
by Sam McEachern

The folks over at Consumer Reports recently got their hands on a Tesla Model 3 and conducted a full instrumented test of the car – but the results were a bit underwhelming.

In its review, CR said they were impressed by the Model 3’s “record-setting range” and “exhilarating acceleration and handling” but also pointed out “big flaws” with the electric compact. These flaws included a long stopping distance of 152 feet from 60 mph, which was worse than any other comparable car CR has tested and 7 feet longer than a Ford F-150.

The 60-0 mph emergency braking test CR performed is an industry standard procedure developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers. CR said it conducted the test multiple times, each time allowing the brakes to properly cool off before testing it again, and it also ensured the brakes and tires were not overly worn or compromised in any way.

In response to CR’s findings, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the problem was related to software and could be fixed with a firmware update. This revelation came just hours after CR’s findings were published, and Musk said that the update should be ready for rollout in a “few days.” He later added that CR had an “early production run car” and that other Model 3s have “improved ride comfort, lower wind noise & many other small improvements.”

Also, Consumer Reports has an early production car. Model 3 now has improved ride comfort, lower wind noise & many other small improvements. Will request that they test current production.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 22, 2018

Musk also said that even if a physical upgrade to the Model 3’s brakes is required, Tesla will “make sure all Model 3’s having amazing braking ability at no expense to customers.” It’s yet not clear if this means the Model 3 will be recalled to improve its braking performance.

SEE ALSO: IIHS Releases First Tesla Model 3 Safety Test Results

Interestingly, the Model 3 appears to show great variance in its braking performance. CR’s first brake test resulted in a 60-0 mph braking distance of 130 feet – on par with Tesla’s own claims for the car. It was unable to replicate this performance later on, however. Car and Driver also reported a “bizarre amount of variation” over its six 70-0 mph braking tests with the Model 3, with the worst of them coming in at 196 feet.

We’ll update readers when Tesla rolls out its braking software update for the Model 3 this week.

[Source: Consumer Reports]

Discuss this story on our Tesla Forum.

Sam McEachern
Sam McEachern

Sam McEachern holds a diploma in journalism from St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario, and has been covering the automotive industry for over 5 years. He conducts reviews and writes AutoGuide's news content. He's a die-hard motorsports fan with a passion for performance cars of all sorts.

More by Sam McEachern

Join the conversation
  • Lionel Arnold Lionel Arnold on May 22, 2018

    C'mon Musk man. Tweets might be a useful political tool but is a poor supplement and or substitute for promised and expected performance of a $35k plus compact car.

  • Kaffekup Kaffekup on May 22, 2018

    Several things; first, I thought the standard for stopping was 120 feet or less, not 130. Normally, CR buys their testers, or rents them for a first look. Why would Tesla sell or rent them a preproduction vehicle? And also, this from another article here: "Consumer Reports got its hands on a second test car that was privately owned and loaned for testing. The publication says it got almost identical results with the second test car." In any case, I would never buy a car where the slightest adjustment of anything goes through a central touchscreen. I make too many adjustments to want to drive while looking at a tablet that's out of the line of vision from the road.