Following a Consumer Reports story yesterday, where the publication said it found “big flaws” with the Tesla Model 3's braking distance, touch screen and ride quality and thus denied it an official recommendation, Tesla CEO Elon Musk responded last night via Twitter that the car will get some updates. Update: Those update will include ABS calibrations.
Musk wrote that the inconsistent braking issues that CR discovered in its testing can be fixed with a “firmware update.” He also claimed that the outlet was conducting its testing on an “early production car” and that current Model 3s have improved.
In the CR testing, the Model 3's stopping distance from 60 mph was 152 feet, which the outlet wrote was “far worse than any contemporary car we’ve tested.” Concerning Musk’s new tweets, it points out in a new story today that automakers have used over-the-air updates to improve cars before, like when Tesla fixed its Summon Mode after Consumer Reports voiced safety concerns.
Summon Mode, however, is a software feature. Braking is traditionally a hardware issue, which is something that usually can’t be fixed with an over-the-air update. It is possible to update the electronics that control the hardware, though, like if the ABS is kicking in too early.
It’s unclear what would be updated in the firmware updates that Musk promised. Additionally, if the Model 3 indeed “now has improved ride comfort, lower wind noise & many other small improvements” as he says it does, does that mean that there are other things on the early production cars that also need “improving”?
We’ve reached out to Tesla for comment and will update if we hear back.
Update May 23, 10:30 a.m.: Musk confirmed via Twitter that the firmware update would include an ABS calibration algorithm.