Tesla Update Should Improve Model 3 Braking Distance By ~20 Feet


Tesla CEO Elon Musk Tweeted that a new update is already being rolled out to significantly improve Model 3 braking distance.

The CEO thanked Consumer Reports for its constructive criticism and got to work on getting a software fix in place. Initially, a Tesla spokesperson’s response to CR’s findings explained that an over-the-air update may be able to address the issue. It seemed there was quite a bit of skepticism surrounding whether or not an automaker could fix a braking issue remotely.

However, Musk later explained on Twitter that an algorithm calibration to the car’s ABS system should do the trick. Tesla quickly worked on this software update and began rolling it out to the fleet. In a follow-up Tweet, Musk said that it “should improve braking distance by ~20 ft for repeated heavy braking events.”

Does this mean it will help only when there are several hard braking events in one session? CR found that the first time it performed the test, the distance was much better than the subsequent tests. Musk doesn’t specifically say that it will improve the braking distance in a single, solitary braking event. However, if the first event was already acceptable, the goal of the update would be to assure that the repeated events offered the same results.

We should soon know the real-world results, since CR will retest the vehicle again once the update is fully rolled out. If this update really can improve braking distance by ~20 feet and no hardware fix is needed, it’s proof of the growing capability and future of such updates.

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40 Comments on "Tesla Update Should Improve Model 3 Braking Distance By ~20 Feet"

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Have they addressed the instance where one track day session destroyed the front braking system, or was that determined to be an anomaly?

The solution is to install track pads for the track. Still waiting for aftermarket brake pad makers to bring them to market.

For track use the rotors warp, that is what several automotive Magazines have already talked about… Brakes are too small for track use.

And then there is this as part of the warranty exclusions fom the Model 3 Limited Warranty.

“Driving over uneven, rough, damaged or hazardous surfaces, including but not limited to,
curbs, potholes, unfinished roads, debris, or other obstacles, or in competition, racing or
autocross or for any other purposes for which the vehicle is not designed;”

Horses for courses!!
comment image

It’s pretty common for a track day to destroy stock brake pads. That is why people put higher temp. pads on for the track. High temp. track compound pads suck on the street, where operating temps are much lower, so it wouldn’t make sense to ship new cars with track ready pads.

“We should soon know the real-world results, since CR will retest the vehicle again once the update is fully rolled out. If this update really can improve braking distance by ~20 feet and no hardware fix is needed, it’s proof of the growing capability and future of such updates.”

It’s also proof that car companies will increasingly be willing to roll out products in a less complete state since they can patch it later.

It’s discouraging that Tesla seems to be wasting development time on things like ABS, rain sensing wipers, climate controls, etc. Those systems have very well developed providers readily in the marketplace that don’t need to be reinvented.

Strongly agree. Foolish overreach on his part. You don’t have to ‘innovate’ every single part on a vehicle and it is inadvisable to even try. And it’s extremely disappointing to find out that it appears Tesla never bothered stress testing the brakes on the Model 3. Simply inexcusably amateurish and reckless. I get that he needs to push this car out the door…it’s make or break…..but perhaps they could have spent a little more time testing brakes and a little less time trying to make a fluffer bot work. Plus this testing wouldn’t even slow down the rollout. Just keep testing during this rollout period. Yes yes I get it, they have several thousand ‘testers’ because they can collect volumes of performance data from the cars that are sold. I just disagree that when it comes to something as important as brakes that this would be acceptable in this case.

Most car companies to not publicly sell cars with safety issues like this. Once in a while the big guys miss something, but not too often. Tesla sold Model 3 with hardware functions not working, and cars not built using their certified production system. Hurry it out the door and repair it later… Time will tell if others adopt this strategy, I sure hope not.

With hundreds of thousands of inherently sporty Model 3s coming I’m sure aftermarket companies are salivating at the prospect of selling things like beefier/better vented rotors and like Nix said track break pads and other items too.

You mean like the faulty ignition switches that GM put into hundreds of thousands of cars that killed over a hundred people?

Or the wrong tires that Ford put on its Exploders that caused many rollovers and deaths?

You should get real, auto companies are pretty infamous for killing people to try and save buck.

GM ignitions were a serious f-up on the part of GM… But thats the old GM, different era, different management philosophy. Like the gas tanks on the older pickups that were outside the frame rails. Bad bad bad..

On the ford Explorer, the problem was tire pressure, they lowered the pressure too much for ride and comfort and made the vehicle unsafe… another f-up for sure. My parents had one of those…

Like I said, the big guys screw up sometimes too…

Not to defend GM, but there is a difference between saving a buck on the lowest cost vehicles that “old GM” used to make vs. a $50K “BMW comparable” entry luxury performance sedan.

GM’s Problem with ignition switches was a LEGAL one of their own making, and trying to be ‘good guys’ about resolving it. Sergio Marchione at FCA (Chrysler), or ANYONE at FORD would say that using any other key ring or any keys other than the maximum supplied by the company will void all warranties and customers must hold the company harmless – ESPECIALLY if they have any keys on the ring having nothing to do with driving the car!

Tesla does the same thing with their warranties as was just mentioned. You must drive the ‘3’ on smooth roads only – ‘bumpy’ roads void the warranty – their words not mine.

Ford’s problem was that FIRESTONE lied when saying how many plies the tires had, but there were other times when FORD intentionally used mis-applied tires.

Model ‘3’ a Sporty Car???? Since when does a ‘Sporty Car’ have the ABSOLUTE WORST stopping distance of ANY passenger car on the market, per CR testing?

My Cadillac ELR is a REAL sporty car – having been deemed by Car & Driver the best handling HYBRID (plug in or not) they had ever tested.

Awesome, late but awesome.

Did they hire the CR trainee who discovered the problem as the new chief test engineer?

152′ to 132′ still is not best in class… But lets wait for the test to be confirmed by Consumer reports before we assume Tesla has fixed the problem.

And Musk said that they will keep improving until it is.

They’re going to need new better brakes.

Those numbers are absolutely horrible.

You are not paying close attention because this was an ABS software algorithm tweak solution and software is being delivered (OTA) to many Model 3s already as firmware 2018.18.13.

The brake mechanics don’t seem to be the problem. I tested mine for one stop and the anti lock brakes and the hard tires are the problem. I only did one stop so brake fade wasn’t tested. My 1988 Tbird turbo coupe stopped much better. My many 3 series BMWS were also better

Those aren’t the real numbers. Let’s wait for real numbers. Other people testing and got way less than 152′

I am paying attention. 20 feet is nothing.

After the update it’s still a crappy distance.

It is in fact slightly worse than average (~130 ft).

But a huge improvement. In one way super impressive. In another, kinda shows the brakes were really not well optimized to begin with, and Tesla didn’t even know it.

In sum though, very good news

Wow…just think about it. It was just….today…that automakers would have to ‘recall’ their vehicles to fix an issue like this, but with Tesla building the vehicle with over the air updates as a core aspect of the vehicle, owners wake up with new, updated features available to them.

This capability should also help keep consumers in their vehicles longer, as new updates can make the vehicle feel new over and over again. Like getting the new free software updates on my Mac.

Check out the repair description that matches what you are saying:
Quote: “This recall notice has shown up on the Canadian Chevrolet Owner Centre website.
GM Recall #: N182148180
Date Issued: Jan 04, 2018
Recall Title: Front Windshield Wiper Stall
Recall Description: Certain 2017-2018 Model Year Chevrolet Bolt EV vehicles may experience front windshield wiper stall when coming out of the park position at specific angles during unique cold, snowy conditions, due to a software calculation error.
Safety Risk Description: If one or both windshield wipers were to stall, it may impair the driver’s visibility under certain operating conditions, increasing the risk of a crash causing injury and/or damage to property.
Repair Description: Dealers will replace the front wiper motors with new wiper motors equipped with an improved software algorithm. ”

Or option 2 – they test the cars properly before they have to be called out in public about something not working right. If CR didn’t call this out, Tesla would not be fixing this.

If they are able to do this with a programming update it means that the brakes were not working to full effect originally. Probably were not aggressive enough on the slip angle allowed by the abs system.
That means they were fixing something they got wrong from the start, not really making the brakes better. Also means if you turned off the abs the car could have probably stopped sooner.

Of course they are fixing a problem, but if successful, this sets a new benchmark for what is possible OTA…. Its very interesting, and good on Tesla for trying to fix it so quickly.

absolutely. I find it disturbing, that they obviously did not take the time to test the brakes themselves, so that CR had to figure out that the breaking software is far from optimal.
but lets see first, if its actually a software problem! (I have a doubt, especially as it is about repeated breaking, that sounds like a heat problem)

Re: heat problem – They cooled the car between test and even let it sit overnight per the reporting.

A car does not rest over night each time before you experience an emergency braking application, its usually in traffic on the freeway, the traffic is congested, and then speeds up to 50+, and then suddenly slows again. In these cases the brakes are hot, before the emergency application.

Also manufactures should certify their brakes with fully worn out pads, to show the worst case… This is how Boeing certifies airplane brakes for the worst case rejected take off situation. I know GM and other automakers also follow this protocol.

Watch the CR video and get it from the source!!! They did cool them down between some testing AS WELL as tried it again the next day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daOGwnqC-gs

My very unscientific test showed me upon tire slip the braking went from 100% to about 50%, also the period between on off and on again seemed really long. My 1988 tbird seemed to work at a much higher frequency

A skilled driver can stop a car faster without ABS. It is called threshold braking, and it is the quickest possible way to stop a vehicle by maintaining brake force at the optimum level. It’s tricky and requires a lot of practice in a familiar car before you’ll be able to do it reliably. It is not something that the average driver is going to be able to do in a panic breaking situation, which is why modern cars come with ABS.

Don’t celebrate this “improvement” until its is independently tested and verified by multiple tests.

Nothing to celebrate.

It’s a crappy stooping distance regardless of the improvement.

I guess some of you people are having issues with the reality

Oops, to quick. They have begun rolling out the update. I’m shocked this is possible; would think ABS was a pretty easy one since the hardware is a thousand to a million times slower than the electronics?!?