The Tesla Model S has been restored as the top-rated ultra-luxury sedan by Consumer Reports after the Silicon Valley-based electric car maker released a software update that increased its automatic emergency braking (AEB) upper limit to 90 mph.
The Model S and Model X SUV were both downgraded in April because vehicles produced after October 2016 did not include AEB at highway speeds as part of the “standard” package. Consumer Reports said that it “awards extra points to the overall score to vehicles that provide automatic braking as a standard feature across all trims,” due to the feature’s tested ability to prevent accidents.
The difference between models built before and after October comes from a split between Tesla’s original Autopilot system that leveraged technology from then partner Mobileye and a fully redesigned Autopilot 2.0 system – Tesla recreated “Mobileye” in 6 months. With the parting, Tesla had to develop its own AEB software, but promised owners an update by the end of 2016. After months of delays, Consumer Reports downgraded the Model S from the top spot in the ultra-luxury sedan group. On April 26, 2017, Tesla provided its first over-the-air update to its Enhanced Autopilot system in the models, but that only allowed for activation of AEB at speeds up to 28 mph.
In early July, Tesla’s Model S received another over-the-air update that increased that limit to 90 mph. Consumer Reports said that after testing and verifying this update, the Model S was upgraded once more. The Model X, receiving the same update, “regained some points, but those did not lift it very much in its category, where it resides near the bottom.”