On the heels of the Consumer Reports confirmation that Tesla’s software update for the Model 3 improved braking distances, Edmunds also took to the track to confirm if the change had indeed improved vehicle braking times in other Model 3 vehicles.
Edmunds took to the same track with the same vehicle, the same tires, brake pads, and rotors. The crew was impressed with the difference in braking distances. After hitting 60 miles per hour, Dan Edmunds noted that the braking feel was very different.
The brakes had more initial bite immediately after stomping on the pedal and it wasn’t just a “feeling.” The data showed that braking distances had improved 10 or 11 feet compared to the previous software version. On the old software, Edmunds’ Model 3 stopped from 60 miles per hour in 133 feet … or from 96 kilometers per hour in 40.5 meters if you prefer.
The new software resulted in a braking distance that was 10 or 11 feet (3 to 3.4 meters) shorter. That’s meaningful and speaks to the power of Tesla’s over-the-air updates. On the other hand, as noted by Edmunds, why was this even an issue? Is Tesla putting enough rigor into the pre-production testing of life-critical safety systems like braking in its vehicles? Why do we need an organization like Consumer Reports to flag a safety issue for a company like Tesla that touts the safety performance of its vehicles?
The reality is that Tesla’s vehicles are the safest vehicles on the road and that it is not in spite of its ability to adjust them over time, but rather, it’s Tesla’s ability to update the performance of life-critical safety systems like braking that often make them safe. Traditional automakers historically take much longer to resolve safety issues and even if something like braking could be improved in a vehicle, it would take a visit to the dealership to get it fixed.
How did Tesla even accomplish this? Electric vehicles come to a stop through a partnership between traditional anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and the regenerative braking system that converts the vehicle’s movement into energy with the vehicle’s motor. The logic governing each system and the interplay between them is the software bit. Both systems are governed electronically, which gives Tesla the ability to modify their performance in post-production vehicles.
For more information or to see more about how Edmunds tests cars, check out its YouTube channel.
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