Tesla Model 3 software update earns Consumer Reports' approval

Consumer Reports changes its mind on Tesla Model 3

Modal Trigger Tesla Model 3 VCG via Getty Images

As we reported last week, Consumer Reports (CR) refused to give Tesla's Model 3 all-electric sedan their recommendation due to "big flaws" in the vehicle's braking system.

Tesla surged more than 3% Wednesday after a second test by Consumer Reports found the company fixed issues the magazine previously found with the Model 3. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk vowed that Tesla would fix the issue in a matter of days.

Fast forward to today and Consumer Reports has revealed the update has significantly improved the situation.

The magazine says the wireless update of antilock braking software cut 19 feet from the car's stopping distance from 60 miles per hour. Tesla told Consumer Reports that its software was tweaked to adapt to changes in use and different environmental conditions.

The Model 3, which starts at $35,000, is seen as crucial to Tesla's profitability at a time when it is battling reports of crashes involving its Autopilot software, questions over funding and production shortfalls.

Production of Tesla Model 3s began in July of a year ago and the first regular customers only received their cars in December after some Tesla employees. But Consumer Reports still has concerns over wind noise, a stiff ride, and the touch-screen controls that could distract a driver.

But Consumer Reports said it appears that Tesla has already begun to make changes to the Model 3's controls with new over-the-air updates.

"I've been at CR for 19 years and tested more than 1,000 cars, and I've never seen a vehicle that could improve its track performance with an over-the-air update", says CR auto testing director Jake Fisher. Improved windshield for aero noise & suspension for ride comfort are major ops.

"Braking & UI upgrades apply to all Model 3s". And it comes at a critical time for Tesla, which has struggled to ramp up production of the Model 3 and is facing pressure from unhappy activist investor groups to bring on more independent board members.

"Would love to be in India", Musk said in the Twitter posting.

Analysts said the magazine's story was a bad advertisement for Tesla.

Shares of Tesla jumped almost 3.5% after the report was released by the consumer organization Wednesday.

'It is important not to be too harsh on Tesla as other vehicles have had their share of safety and technical issues.

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