Tesla dinged by Consumer Reports for not implementing safety feature
Tesla vehicles have dropped in Consumer Reports’ ratings because the automaker failed to implement a safety feature that was expected to come standard.
In a report published Wednesday, the influential magazine said it was deducting two points each from the Tesla Model S sedan and the Model X crossover because the automatic emergency braking feature the company said would be enabled in both models by the end of 2016 has yet to be implemented. The deduction knocks the Model S from its top ranking among ultraluxury sedans and lowers the Model X close to the bottom of midsize luxury SUVs.
After being informed of the deduction, Tesla told Consumer Reports it would be rolling out the feature on Thursday. Tesla confirmed to Automotive News that the over-the-air rollout of automatic emergency braking began Wednesday.
Tesla validates each software upgrade before rolling it out to owners via over-the-air updates. Customers who order a Tesla vehicle this week will receive a vehicle that has AEB enabled.
Consumer Reports said it would re-evaluate the scores once the automaker activated AEB in its vehicles.
Tesla’s first iteration of Autopilot, its semiautonomous driving system, included AEB. However, in October, the automaker began to equip all of its new vehicles with self-driving capable hardware with a less advanced version of software. Gradually, Tesla has been releasing over-the-air software updates, with the goal of eventually enabling fully autonomous driving.
In communications with Consumer Reports in recent months, Tesla said that the feature would be coming soon.
The magazine pointed out that AEB is a “basic safety feature” that comes standard in much less expensive vehicles, such as the Toyota Corolla.
“When we purchased our latest test car, we were assured automatic emergency braking would be enabled by the end of 2016,” Jake Fisher, director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center, said in the report. “We’ve been waiting for this important safety feature, which is standard equipment on much cheaper cars.”
Tesla is also facing a class-action lawsuit over the latest version of its Autopilot technology, which claims the software is “dangerously defective.”