Tesla: Model 3 Brake Updates, Rocky Mountain Hypermiling, Shanghai Sales Surge

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From Tesla Model 3 brake fixes to extreme Tesla Model 3 hypermiling to smashed Tesla sales surge in Shanghai, here’s your Tesla news roundup for the day.

Sharpening the Braking Software

Shortly after Consumer Reports identified an issue with the emergency braking performance of the Model 3, Tesla began sending out over-the-air updates. Elon Musk tweeted on May 26, “Should improve braking distance by ~20 ft for repeated heavy braking events.” In its original testing, Consumer Reports found the Model 3 required as much as 152 feet to stop from 60 mph. Its average for luxury compact cars is 131 feet. If Elon’s tweet is accurate, the braking performance of the Model 3 after the update should be right in line with that average.

Consumer Reports has agreed to retest the car after the company has finished updating all the cars currently on the road. According to Fortune, the braking issue involves the way in which the electric drive motor regenerates electricity when the brakes are applied.

Consumer Reports reported it was unable to recommend the car to consumers because of the braking issue and for other reasons, like excessive wind noise on the highway and an uncomfortable rear seat. It also found the placement of all the controls of the car in the center-mounted touchscreen inconvenient. It remains to be seen whether it will recommend the car even if the brake update solves the emergency braking issue.

In a week in which Musk has adopted an uncharacteristically combative attitude toward journalists, he went out of his way to praise Consumer Reports. “Thanks @ConsumerReports for excellent critical feedback!” Think what Consumer Reports has to say isn’t important to Tesla? Think again.

Hypermiling Heaven

While most Americans were busy pounding down hot dogs to honor veterans on Memorial Day weekend, Sean Mitchell, president of the Denver Tesla Club, and Erik Strait, a Tesla owner and YouTube entrepreneur, spent 32 hours driving around in a circle at speeds between 20 and 35 miles an hour. When their car finally stopped running, it had covered 606.2 miles, which may be a new world record if it is certified by the folks at Guinness.

What does one have to do to become a hypermiling champion? Sit in a car for 32 hours with the windows up and the air conditioner off so the temperature inside the car soars to more than 108°F, then have friends drive alongside to pass you food using a net on a pole. If you want to share in the stultifying boredom these two guys endured, you can feast your eyes on the more than 8 hour long video of their adventure that was uploaded to YouTube. Or you could just load one of those videos of a fire burning in a fireplace that go on interminably and watch it until your eyes fall out of your head.

Oh, one other joy that goes along with such stunts? When it’s over, you can have your car towed because it no longer charges properly.

Shanghai Tesla Store Sells Out

After China’s Customs Tariff Commission announced that import duties on electric cars will be reduced to 15% starting July 1, Tesla went ahead and instructed its stores in China to reduce prices immediately. As a result, the Tesla store in Shanghai sold all 10 Model X SUVs it had in stock in just one day. InsideEVs picked up on a story in Yicai Global about the sales surge.

A sales representative at the Shanghai store told the local press, “The cars available were all imported from the States in April and May this year. After selling all of them, we’ll replenish stock when the new tariffs come in. We were losing out on profit with the lowered price as the cars were imported at the old tariff rate — the Model S 75D was CNY70,000 (USD11,000) cheaper.”

The new prices will apply to all cars imported into China going forward but not to existing orders. Prior to July 1, all  Tesla automobiles are subject to a 25% import duty, so Tesla is effectively subsidizing sales for the next 5 weeks. It is unlikely people with pending orders will be very pleased about such corporate largess unless Tesla decides to compensate them in some way.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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