You can’t expect to create a revolutionary automaker from scratch and not hit a few snags along the way. Elon Musk’s Tesla, Inc. (formerly Tesla Motors) was founded just 15 years ago – a relative newcomer in the stodgy world of established auto brands – but has already proven itself to be a worthy competitor. Tesla vehicles are some of the most state-of-the-art automobiles on the planet, but there are still plenty of kinks to work out in their production lines and self-driving systems. This week, Tesla took a huge step towards addressing some of its design flaws this week when it finally admitted that the popular Model 3 sedan suffers from a braking issue. Luckily, though, there’s a simple, very 21st-century fix coming: a software update.
Tesla’s admission came after leading magazine Consumer Reports published a review of the Model 3 which did not recommend readers to buy the car. The review noted “big flaws” such as “long stopping distances in our emergency braking test and difficult-to-use controls,” problems which “keep the Model 3 from earning a Consumer Reports recommendation.” Naturally, being Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO took to social media to immediately counter the review with claims of his own.
Writing on Twitter, Musk accused Consumer Reports of using an older model vehicle which had not yet been updated with the latest version of Tesla’s software:
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. 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 called Consumer Reports review “very strange” and “inconsistent with other reviewers,” noting that it sourced one of its cars from a privately-owned source, meaning its software might have been out of date.
This latest review is another damaging headline in a string of bad press for Musk and Tesla. Are reviewers and consumers placing too high expectations on a young, relatively unproven automaker?