Tesla was stung last week when Consumer Reports downgraded both the Model S and Model X because the latest vehicles were not equipped with the Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) feature that the company promised to release by the end of 2016. The reduced ranking moved the Model S into third position behind the Mercedes S Class and the BMW 7 Series on CR’s list of recommended premium luxury sedans. The Model X fell to near the bottom of the rankings for midsize sport utility vehicles.
Tesla responded quickly by pushing out an over-the-air software update that included the AEB feature within 24 hours after CR’s report. But that wasn’t enough to resolve the rating organization’s concerns. In a note released on Friday, April 28, CR said, “The Tesla Model S 60D owned by Consumer Reports received its automatic emergency braking software update Thursday, but the feature only operates up to 28 mph, according to the digital owner’s manual that was updated at the same time.” It noted that Teslas built prior to October 19, 2016 had automatic braking that worked to 90 miles per hour.
Tesla responded by saying, “The first step was meeting the IIHS requirements, which are 45 km/h (28 mph)”. Adding, “Over the next several weeks, we will increase AEB speed activation until it is the most capable of any vehicle in the world.” CR said it would review its ranking once it was certain the new AEB software had been installed on all eligible Tesla vehicles.
“We appreciate that Tesla has started to roll out standard automatic emergency braking on these vehicles,” said Jake Fisher, director of Auto Testing at Consumer Reports. The consumer products testing service also explained why AEB plays such a large part in its ratings. “AEB is an important safety feature: According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, vehicles equipped with forward collision warning and automatic braking see incidents of rear-end collisions reduced by 40 percent, with bodily injury claims cut by 30 percent. CR believes that AEB should be standard on all new vehicles.”
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