Consumer Reports has restored the Tesla Model S to its position as the top-rated ultra-luxury sedan after the automaker updated its software to enable automatic emergency braking (AEB) at highway speeds.
In April, CR lowered its scores for the newer versions of Model S and Model X, because their AEB systems were not enabled. While the hardware was built into cars produced after October 2016, the safety feature was not enabled as part of the “standard” package.
AEB went missing on Models S and X because Tesla started using its own technology for the feature after parting ways with a supplier. The company quickly issued an over-the-air update that activated AEB, but it only functioned at speeds up to 28 mph, according to CR. Recently, CR’s Model S received an update that moved the upper limit of the AEB system back to 90 mph. CR verified on the test track that the new AEB functions properly, and restored Model S’s top safety score.
Model X also regained some points, but enough to lift it much higher in CR’s rankings: it remains near the bottom of its category.
Consumer Reports is a strong proponent of AEB, which it says has been shown to save lives, and it awards extra points to vehicles that offer it as a standard feature. Twenty US automakers have made a voluntary agreement with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to make AEB standard on most light vehicles starting in 2022.
“Automakers should never treat safety as a luxury item,” says Consumers Union Policy Analyst William Wallace. “Proven, life-saving safety features should be in every new car sold, and automakers certainly should not wait until 2022 to make automatic emergency braking standard.”
Source: Consumer Reports