Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed on Twitter approximately an hour ago that the braking issues identified by Consumer Reports have been addressed by an over-the-air software update. His post shows that he has toned down his responses to the trusted firm, which Tesla butted heads with back in October.
The about-face by Consumer Reports happened in what must be a record, taking just 7 days from a Consumer Reports article detailing such a significant issue to having it resolved by the manufacturer. As we reported earlier, Consumer Reports had issues with the Model 3’s braking capability — it took significantly longer to brake than expected for such a car.
The rapid turnaround speaks to the impressive responsiveness by Tesla when faced with what it deems are real issues, and also to the power of its over-the-air software update capability, which can roll out fixes faster, easier, and more cheaply than automakers have ever done.
Somewhat surprisingly, legacy automobiles have never enjoyed the luxury of over-the-air updates, with even a small firmware flash or navigation update requiring a visit to a local service center and the inevitable service bills that follow. Tesla, on the other hand, just has to kick out a software update and push it out to all affected vehicles, much like a cellphone manufacturer would do.
Elon added more color to the update in a second tweet, noting that the braking and user interface (UI) updates were for all Model 3’s, not just the new ones it was building moving forward. He also noted two hardware updates that Tesla had identified to address other concerns raised by Consumer Reports — a quieter windshield and better suspension that would improve the ride quality. It appears that he implied any Model 3 owner could come in for the upgrades and have them done on the house, but he didn’t explicitly say that and he actually discouraged owners from bothering with these issues if they aren’t “really bothered by them.”
The exchange on Twitter shows just how responsive Tesla can be, but really starts to make one wonder about Elon’s capacity and if Twitter is the most effective use of his time. Maybe a Tesla Twitter team with a more structured approach to handling issues, taking feedback, and responding to criticism would result in a better end product and let Elon get back to what is surely a lengthy list of more pressing issues? Oh well — he’s the one changing the world, who am I to offer solutions?
For sure, Elon will just keep doing what he does. To close out the tweets on such updates (for now, at least), he announced yet another innovative feature that would allow drivers to accelerate the speed at which Tesla’s vehicles improve. He tweeted that drivers could create “bug reports” for Tesla’s vehicles much like they would do for a computer or smartphone app and just using voice commands.
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