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article imageTesla working on 'firmware update' fix for Model 3 'brake flaw'

By Karen Graham     May 22, 2018 in Technology
Palo Alto - After Consumer Reports highlighted flaws in the Model 3's braking system on Monday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to downplay the report. Musk admitted there was a problem with the braking issue, but said it will be fixed with a firmware update.
Consumer Reports is without a doubt, a very influential magazine, and usually, when they report on something, people listen. When Consumer Reports reviewed Tesla's Model 3 recently, they found plenty to like about the luxury compact sedan.
But the Model 3 fell a bit short of getting the magazine's approval because "testers found flaws—big flaws—such as long stopping distances in our emergency braking test and difficult-to-use controls."
Elon Musk, in a [url= t=_blank]series of Tweets late Monday night, contends CR testers were using two earlier versions of the Model 3's that have since been updated.
Consumer Reports
According to CR, "The Tesla’s stopping distance of 152 feet from 60 mph was far worse than any contemporary car we’ve tested and about 7 feet longer than the stopping distance of a Ford F-150 full-sized pickup."
As it turns out, though, a spokesperson with Tesla told CR their own tests found stopping distances from 60 to 0 mph were an average of 133 feet with the same type tires as were on the test models. The Tesla official went on to say there were numerous factors that played into a vehicles braking distances, including weather, type of road and road conditions, and a whole list more.
Driver distraction with Tesla touchscreen
The second big issue thrown out by CR was the Model 3's central touchscreen. Not only did CR call the touchscreen "distracting," but they point out that almost all the car's controls and displays are on a center touchscreen, with no gauges on the dash, and few buttons inside the car.
Everything is controlled from the center touchscreen.
Everything is controlled from the center touchscreen.
This means that even simple functions, like adjusting the mirrors or changing the direction of the airflow from the air-conditioning vents. "These types of complex interactions with a touch screen can cause driver distraction," Consumer Reports noted, "because each act forces drivers to take their eyes off the road and a hand off the steering wheel."
But Musk stuck to the braking problem without addressing the touchscreen issue. “With further refinement, we can improve braking distance beyond initial specs. Tesla won’t stop until Model 3 has better braking than any remotely comparable car,” Musk wrote in exchanges with other Twitter users.
“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,” he wrote. (And that is about as close as Musk came to addressing the touchscreen)
Basically, Musk wrote that the variability in the braking distance was related to the “ABS (Anti-Skid Braking System)
calibration algorithm”.
Tesla Factory  Fremont  California
Tesla Factory, Fremont, California
Maurizio Pesce (CC BY 2.0)
“The CR braking result is inconsistent with other reviewers, but might indicate that some Model 3s have longer braking distances than others,” he said. “If so, we will address this at our expense. May just be a question of firmware tuning, in which case can be solved by an OTA software update.”
Interestingly, Musk didn't address this issue last night. However, it is important to note that Tesla is still considered a youngster in the automotive sector, says Neil Saunders, Managing Director of consumer research house GlobalData Retail.
"It is important not to be too harsh on Tesla as other vehicles have had their share of safety and technical issues. The issue for Tesla is that unlike other car companies, it is a young brand that needs to win people over so can’t afford too many missteps.”
More about Tesla, Model 3, Consumer reports, firmware update, braking distance
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