Full Disclaimer — I am an owner of Tesla stock (and a Model S). I’m in it for the long run and have been reviewing / critiquing / drooling over Tesla long before I had any financial skin in the game.
Consumer Reports has had a love-hate relationship with Tesla, single-handedly causing major surges and drops in the stock price. Consumer Reports gives Tesla a positive rating, saying how the Model S “broke the scale” to become the highest-rated car the company has ever reviewed, and stock jumps. Weeks later, Consumer Reports bashes the Model S for reliability concerns, and the stock bombs.
In parallel to these events, Tesla fanatics have reacted in similarly emotional fashions, praising CR for the top ratings of the Model S only to whip a 180 when Consumer Reports critiques the car, calling Consumer Reports outdated and irrelevant.
Well, it’s time for another round of the critique, as Consumer Reports testing of the new Summon feature found that the Model S didn’t always “see” smaller objects — specifically, a bike and a duffel bag, and presumably in a handful of specific scenarios. Because of this and the fact that the Summon feature did not utilize a “dead man switch,” which stays on when pressed and turns off if the button is released (for example, if you were to fall down dead mid-summon, hence the name).
Consumer Reports flagged the safety improvement to Tesla, which presumably agreed, as the recently released update to Summon now defaults to the dead man–style switch on the app. This is one of the many things we love about Tesla — not only the responsiveness to customers… but the fact that it can push those improvements out to consumers’ vehicles over the air. It’s an impressive feature that continues to find usefulness as Tesla continues to iterate with new improvements of its own and, as in this case, in response to consumer reports (heh).
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