Consumer Reports Says Auto Brake Update Not Enough For Tesla To Regain Top Safety Rating

2 months ago by Eric Loveday 36

Consumer Reports – Not Far Enough

The over-the-air update Tesla pushed out to activate automatic emergency braking is sub par and not enough for Consumer Reports to move the Model S back to its safest-in-the-world status.

Last week, Consumer Reports made the decision to downgrade both the Tesla Model S and Model X due to an absent safety feature that had long been promised by Tesla.

Tesla Model S Automatic Emergency Braking Test

The downgrade didn’t sit well with the automaker. Tesla immediately responded by pushing out an OTA update to activate automatic emergency braking. The safety feature returned almost immediately after Consumer Reports went public with its downgrade decision.

Now that automatic emergency braking is present in both the Model S and X, has Consumer Reports upgraded both vehicles?

Nope…

And here’s why.

Consumer Reports announced on Friday that the Model S it owns had got the automatic emergency braking software update late on Thursday. However, there’s a catch. The feature only operates up to 28 miles per hour (45 km). On older Tesla’s (ones built prior to October 2016) this feature had an upper limit of 90 MPH.

Reuters states:

“The magazine (Consumer Reports) cited a statement from Tesla that “over the next several weeks” the car maker would increase the speed limit “until it is the most capable of any vehicle in the world.”

So, perhaps in a couple of weeks Consumer Reports will upgrade the ratings for both vehicles, but not for now.

Source: Reuters

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36 responses to "Consumer Reports Says Auto Brake Update Not Enough For Tesla To Regain Top Safety Rating"

  1. ClarksonCote says:

    How does automatic braking up to 28mph help? I would think the higher speeds are the more important ones??

    Seems like an odd limitation, especially when older Teslas had much higher speeds where this was capable of working.

    1. bro1999 says:

      More or less confirms speculation that Elon forced this update to be pushed through after learning of the CR downgrade, even though it wasn’t quite ready.

      Only to find out that CR isn’t accepting the “grimped” AEB update. Lol

        1. Nix says:

          bro1999, how do you like the “gimped” optional “Low Speed Front Automatic Braking” in you Bolt? Did you get that option? Because the current Bolt and Volt (that have the option installed) will ONLY ever have what you call “gimped” low speed AEB.

          Meanwhile, the Tesla you bash will certainly gain higher speed operation. And cars that weren’t purchased with the option can be upgraded to have the option in the future with an OTA purchase. Can’t do that with your car either.

          It is funny how you set your standards, with a much lower bar for your own car….

          1. unlucky says:

            GM doesn’t claim it’s fully capable. And it isn’t. What’s to be disappointed with?

            Tesla meanwhile says theirs is and yet it is not.

            1. Nix says:

              “GM doesn’t claim it’s fully capable. And it isn’t.”

              That’s my point. Story after story we get the usual suspect Bolt fanbois gleefully cackling over features being late as if it were the end of the world, that their own cars don’t have, won’t have, and will never have.

              Meanwhile, Tesla has already begun rolling out the very features these usual suspects are crying and crying about.

              Either it is good to have both city and highway AEB in every car, or it isn’t. By definition it is a double standard to whine and pout about one car not having AEB fully functioning YET, while covering your eyes and pretending like there is nothing wrong with your own fanboi fetish car not even offering it, ever.

              If you don’t see how weak that is, you are part of the problem.

              Which you are.

      1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

        They’re rolling it out the same way they rolled out the Autosteer updates, with gradual speed increases.

        Why did you expect them to release AEB differently?

        1. unlucky says:

          I would expect them to be different on this for two reasons.

          Because they said the autosteer was beta, they admitted its limitations (well, some of them).

          And because Tesla put this out right after the lawsuit and CR report and it was indicated it would close the gap with HW1. Clearly it does not. Although to be fair, I don’t see a Tesla press release saying it was equivalent, but they sure didn’t disabuse anyone of the notion.

    2. Mikael says:

      It helps a lot. Almost all material damage and whiplashes are done at that speed.
      In many (most?) parts of the world it is also at those speeds most people are killed in traffic.

      1. ClarksonCote says:

        Interesting, wasn’t aware of those statistics.

        1. Mikael says:

          But with that said… an AEB that can handle higher speeds is of course a lot better than one that can only handle lower speeds. 🙂

          Every mile per hour less you can achieve before a high speed impact improves your chance of survival massively.

          So the sooner Tesla can get that done properly the better.

    3. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      28mph is enough to prevent a good number of pedestrian collisions.

      1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

        And, as noted by Tesla, the 28mph is based on a legal requirement.

  2. ffbj says:

    ffbj says: CR walking back, hemming and hawing, not enough for CR to regain credibility.

  3. serial anti Tesla troll says:

    So the new product is not as good as the one from mobileye was. Last autumn Mobileye and Tesla terminates their partnership.

    1. floydboy says:

      Not as good YET!

    2. pjwood1 says:

      I imagine, somewhere in Israel, spirits are very high.

  4. ClarksonCote says:

    Jay, if you’re out there on the interwebs, random aside… What’s with the late release of sales data today? Not on your site of course, but GM, for example, hasn’t put out their press blast yet, and they’re usually good about doing it coincident with their conference call. 😉

    1. ClarksonCote says:

      Ah, your site says Tuesday now. Did it say Monday before or did I imagine that? 🙂

      1. bro1999 says:

        when the sales month ends on a weekend/holiday, it gets extended to the next business day. So the April sales month this year actually ends today, 5/1. We’ll see the results tomorrow.

        1. ClarksonCote says:

          I had expected that too, then thought I read 5/1 on here earlier today, so I was keeping an eye out for press releases, heh.

          Makes sense though.

          1. Jay Cole says:

            …belated response saying the same thing. Sales is tomorrow, (=

  5. Jim Whitehead says:

    Consumer Reports and book collectors are the pickiest people on Earth. The danger for Tesla, is that throwing out a half-done update may harm their reputation. Its like when teachers teach the specific SOL test so that all their students barely pass, but don’t teach the book, are they really doing students any good?

    Tesla, please just release it when its done. Half-baked features that barely work can harm your reputation. CR should eventually come around, if they have any integrity left…

    1. Mikael says:

      If being picky involves not accepting a car that doesn’t have one of the most important safety systems then I hope that everyone in the world is picky.

      Tesla doesn’t get a pass on safety just for being Tesla.

    2. Mr. M says:

      Tesla should not have their contract with mobileye cancelled if they can only provide a half baked solution within 6 months of work…

  6. unlucky says:

    Thank you to CR for actually holding Tesla to a standard. It can be hard when a car is so revolutionary and ahead of the curve in many other ways to remain objective about important things like safety. CR is doing so, and to the benefit of us all. They may not be completely consistently great but they’re getting this thing right.

  7. Nix says:

    I find it interesting that Consumer Reports gives safety points for other cars that only have “City Speed” AEB, and do not have “Highway Speed” AEB, and are not giving Tesla any credit at all for their “City Speed” initial release of AEB.

    All of these car makers have one or more models with “City Speed” AEB, that do not have “Highway Speed” AEB. Consumer Reports still gives them safety points for these low speed AEB systems, so why not Tesla?

    Audi
    Chevrolet
    GMC
    Land Rover
    Mazda
    Mitsubishi
    Scion
    Toyota
    VW

    Seems like in trying to correct their original mistake, they are now holding Tesla to a different standard than they hold all these other car makers.

    1. unlucky says:

      Ah. I figured it could be too much to expect you stop defending the indefensible.

      Your question is incorrectly formed. Tesla was previous getting full points for automatic brake application even though it had none. Now it only has low-speed, so CR cannot restore their score to what it was before because it doesn’t have the feature they (foolishly) gave it points for having before.

      So yeah, Tesla would still see a “points deficit” while other makes would see only that the never got points they didn’t deserve. It just so happens that in the competitive luxury car category the Model S is in having less than full-speed auto braking puts them at a points disadvantage versus their competition. And thus they are behind their competition. Having the same features in the market that a Bolt is in or a Malibu perhaps would actually put the car ahead of (some of) its peers.

      CR is not pretending Chevy is doing other than what they are doing.

      http://www.consumerreports.org/car-safety/cars-with-advanced-safety-systems/

      Select Chevy. See how empty the “autobraking highway speed” column is for Chevy?

      Now go to BMW or Mercedes and look at the 7-Series or S class. See how they have the feature?(optional on the 7-series? WTF at that price)

      You can see under Tesla the 2017 is rated differently than the 2016 in this column. As it should be. Have they not updated their list or does 28mph not even count as city speed?

      1. unlucky says:

        I’m told by an owner that Tesla didn’t even roll out the update to all HW2 owners yet. That could be another reason why the city column is still “N/A”.

        Some people on firmware 17.11 got it. Many people have older firmware. Customers with 17.14.x or 17.16.x also don’t get the feature yet. Tesla didn’t put the feature into their latest software, only slightly older ones?

        Seems like Tesla still has a lot of work to do here.

      2. Nix says:

        Unlucky, clearly you cannot read.

        “Tesla was previous getting full points for automatic brake application even though it had none. Now it only has low-speed, so CR cannot restore their score to what it was before because it doesn’t have the feature they (foolishly) gave it points for having before.”

        I didn’t say they should get their full points back. I was commenting that they weren’t giving Tesla ANY credit that the other cars got for low speed systems that all the other companies I listed got.

        Your link proves MY point. They are giving Tesla zero credit for the same low speed system that is listed for Chevy on that exact link you provided.

        1. unlucky says:

          If they haven’t rolled out automatic braking to every HW2 customer then they don’t deserve credit.

          https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/threads/17-11-45-automatic-emergency-braking.89794/page-8

          Anyway, how did you determine from that link whether Tesla got partial credit? Simply not passing up the 7 series and S class doesn’t tell us much. Right now I wish I were a subscriber so I could discover more.

          1. Nix says:

            That’s funny, because EVERY CAR MAKER on the list I provided gets some credit for low speed AEB in 1 or more cars where not every car gets that feature. But that doesn’t stop CR from giving all those other car makers credit for the limited number of cars that do get low speed AEB in those model lines.

            So that doesn’t hold water either. CR doesn’t require every single car of a model line have low speed AEB for them to give them credit.

            1. Mr. M says:

              Tesla – you bought AP you habe nothing vor a little bit emergency braking.

              Other company – you bought City brake packet, you get it. You bought no brake assist, you bot none.

              Can you at least see the difference?

              1. Nix says:

                Mr. M, that’s not actually the situation.

                1) From Oct to Dec Tesla customers bought cars KNOWING they did not have AEB, with nothing more than a projected date of availability in Dec.

                2) From Jan to present, even MORE customers bought cars KNOWING they did not have AEB, KNOWING that Tesla had already missed their initial projected date. And they bought it anyway.

                3) Those buyers are slowly getting that AEB now, and it will continue to improve.

                Do you get the difference?

                ___________________________-

                But nice job trying so hard to ignore my actual point by fabricating an oversimplified false narrative.

                Do you understand that Consumer Reports GAVE THOSE COMPANIES CREDIT for having some number of their cars having just low speed AEB?

                Do you understand that Tesla has some number of cars with low speed AEB, and CR is not giving them any credit?

  8. G2 says:

    Try not bash CR too much; they are as impartial a judge for vehicles (and many other things) as could possibly be expected and their work gas led to better/safer vehicles over the decades.
    Did they err in giving such high marks too early? Yes. It it the end of the world they are holding out for the full meal deal on a great car? No.
    So be it.

    1. Nix says:

      “Did they err in giving such high marks too early? Yes.”

      I agree that CR errored in giving the high marks too early. But here is the problem. Instead of simply owning their own ratings they created, and admitting that THEY (Consumer Reports) made the mistake, CR is dragging Tesla through the mud instead and not owning their own error.

      Tesla isn’t responsible for the ratings that CR gave them. That is entirely CR’s free choice.

      But CR didn’t come out with a press release saying how THEY made a rating error, and apologizing for THEIR error. They came out with a press release dragging Tesla through the mud as being downgraded. Nobody at Tesla sat down in CR’s offices and gave the incorrect rating. That was Consumer Reports who did that. They should own it.

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