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Tesla Model 3 fails to get Consumer Reports recommendation due to "big flaws"

By midian182 · 24 replies
May 22, 2018
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  1. Update (5/30): Consumer Reports now says the Model 3 has officially earned their recommendation. According to the outlet, Tesla has managed to reduce the vehicle's braking distance from 152ft to 133ft using a software over-the-air update.

    Tesla is facing more problems with its Model 3, but this time it isn’t a manufacturing issue. Consumer Reports has said that it will not recommend the electric sedan due to several issues, the main one being its braking distances. The highly influential magazine said the car braked slower than a full-sized pick-up truck.

    Tesla estimates that the Model 3's 60MPH to zero braking distance is about 133 feet on average, but the publication’s tests only came near this distance once. It found 152 feet to be the average stopping distance, which was “far worse than any contemporary car” tested by the magazine and seven feet longer than that of a Ford F-150 pickup.

    To make sure the results weren’t related to the test car, a second Model 3 was put through the same examinations and showed almost identical stopping distances.

    Consumer Reports was also unhappy with the Model 3 controls, most of which are accessed via the large central touchscreen. "This layout forces drivers to take multiple steps to accomplish simple tasks," it wrote, adding that functions including adjusting the wing mirrors or the AC required interaction with the screen, thereby taking drivers’ eyes off the road.

    The outlet also took issue with the “stiff ride, unsupportive rear seat and excessive wind noise at highway speeds.”

    Tesla maintains that the Model 3's average braking distance is 133 feet using 18-inch Michelin all-season tires, and as low as 126 feet with all tires currently available. The company argues that Consumer Reports’ tests were affected by tire and environment temperatures, road surfaces, and “past driving behavior.”

    “Unlike other vehicles, Tesla is uniquely positioned to address more corner cases over time through over-the-air software updates, and it continually does so to improve factors such as stopping distance,” Tesla said. Jake Fisher, head of auto testing for Consumer Reports, suggested that if the braking performance was improved then the car could still earn the magazine’s approval.

    Some previous Tesla models haven’t impressed Consumer Reports, either; the Model X crossover SUV also missed out on a recommendation.

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2018
  2. Vulcanproject

    Vulcanproject TS Evangelist Posts: 783   +1,143

    Brake by wire is a tricky thing to calibrate, at least it may indeed be addressed by a software update. It is important Tesla look into brake concerns and make sure there are no safety issues.

    Stuff like heating should be permanent on the bottom of the screen, so isn't a valid complaint for the A/C. Not much different to fixed buttons on other cars. You find the control once, then every subsequent time you use it you only need glance in it's direction to hit it. Most people have the capacity to look away from the road for a well chosen couple of split seconds without killing everything.

    As for the mirror criticism that's also stupid, why are you adjusting them on the move? I know a lot of people do it now and again (guilty), but you also know the simple (and correct) solution is adjust them before you drive off.

    I'll leave the other ride and comfort issues until I have a go in one. But I do have experience that 'wind noise' in an electric car is an illusion commonly known as 'I have no engine noise, so I hear lots of wind noise instead.....'

    I'm not a Tesla advocate here. I'm just reading this and seeing it for what it is, kind of stupid points.
    Last edited: May 22, 2018
  3. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 1,618   +1,830

    Probably due to the weight. The model 3 is HEAVY for its size.

    Add in the reliability issues, high price, lack of availability, ece and the argument for the model 3 dissolves.
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,710   +4,047

    My neighbor got one and the braking was the 1st thing we both noticed. It reminded me of the older disk brakes that didn't do well after running through a large puddle. After two visits back to the dealership they were able to fix the problem.
  5. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 4,612   +3,222

    3 days ago I was finally test-driving Tesla Model S, and I must say, I was deeply underwhelmed.

    Here in Ireland, where P100D is about 185,000 Euro (or $218,000 USD), one has to be crazy to pay this much for a vehicle of such a low-quality interior.

    The first big negative impression gave the synthetic-leather seats, constantly squeaking under me, and overly uncomfortable. The second was very low sound isolation. Even at very low speed I could hear the wheels so loudly, but as I took it to the motorway, boy, the hell broke loose, I felt like I was driving with Windows open, that's how bad the sound isolation was.

    After the test I returned to sit comfortably in my Audi A6 upgraded leather seats, surrounded by good sound isolation, and thinking, wow, that was a bummer. Good thing I will never waste my time looking at Tesla again. For that kind of Money I can by a fully loaded Mercedes S560, while the price difference will pay for 5 years worth of petrol. Thanks a bunch, Tesla! PASS!

    And with Tesla 3, being a cheaper and inferior version of Model S, I wouldn't even want to try, unless it sells with a 70% discount.

    These things really belong to the exhibition we have in Dublin once a year, called "Toys for Big Boys".

    P.S. This sounds like poor writing - "fails to recommend", denotes an invalid or false sentiment. They were not supposed to recommend it to begin with, only if the product deserved it, which it simply didn't. But the Consumer Reports didn't fail at anything, they did their job well.
    Last edited: May 22, 2018
    JaredTheDragon and ddferrari like this.
  6. Jeff Re

    Jeff Re TS Addict Posts: 167   +139

    Consumer Reports said the same thing about the Ford Escort and how many of those were sold??
    DaveBG likes this.
  7. Ravey

    Ravey TS Addict Posts: 164   +71

    What was the problem?
    Mao666 and davejonnes like this.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,772   +838

    Ouch... I believe it too with how heavy electric vehicles are. Need better tires or more rubber on the road to help compensate.
  9. Vulcanproject

    Vulcanproject TS Evangelist Posts: 783   +1,143

    If you refer to the braking issues, it'll almost certainly be some sort of calibration issue of the 'regenerative braking'.

    There are two braking systems to operate and balance when the vehicle is in motion. The conventional hydraulic loop seen in most cars, and the system where resistance to slow the vehicle down imparted by the drive motor/generator is converted back into electrical energy to go back into the batteries. It's a fancy dyno basically. As soon as you ease off the throttle (before even braking), it'll slow the vehicle gradually and harvest energy.

    When actually braking the computer has to decide how much energy it can recover via the motor resistance. It wants to recover as much as possible to give added range, but it is also limited by how much it can actually recover at peak to slow the car down. You can't overload the system, lock a given wheel/axle, or unbalance the car! Lots of potentially very bad things to go wrong there.

    If much more braking force is required than the regen can provide (the emergency stops tested definitely being one such circumstance!), then it has to apply the hydraulic system strongly and use the discs and pads.

    Balancing this coupled with developing an excellent anti lock braking system to work in harmony with it all requires a lot of fine tuning calibration. It's a compromise to account for the mass of the vehicle, efficiency of the individual regen and braking systems on each given axle, tyres, road surfaces, suspension setup and so on.

    Naturally these things can vary dramatically and so the system has to adapt on the fly to make sure everything is safe and the regen works at it's peak. Difficult thing to get spot on.

    From my experience it's still a little tricky and expensive just to develop a really good conventional anti lock braking system on a new model. That's why quite often small volume car manufacturers didn't always have ABS! Several low volume sports cars have excused this by talking about the purity of driving, but often the reality is to develop a good ABS system will cost a lot of money haha. TVR always used this old chestnut :p :D

    Electric cars add a great deal more complication to boot.
    Last edited: May 22, 2018

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,772   +838

    We shall see I guess, but weight is a big player in braking distances. I just find it comical they were blaming CR on the environmental conditions and prior driving behavior then go on to say a software update will likely resolve the problems. I don't think software updates will do much to counter environmental conditions and driver behavior.
  11. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,710   +4,047

    Oh, they said there "were no problems, just the need for a minor adjustment". I wonder if that's the same answer that guy got that rammed into the back of the truck .... oh wait, he didn't live long enough to hear the explanation ....... LOL
  12. MasterMace

    MasterMace TS Booster Posts: 91   +55

    The Tesla Model 3 is a mid size AWD sedan. To compare HP and curb weights of mid size sedans

    Tesla Model 3 Long Range - 271 hp - 3838 lbs - $44,000
    BMW 530i xdrive - 248 hp - 3878 lbs - $55,000
    Mercedes-Benz E300 4matic - 241 hp - 3891 lbs - $55,500
    Lexus GS 350 AWD - 311 HP - 3891 lbs - $50,365
    Audi A6 2.0T Premium AWD - 252 hp - 4023 lbs - $52,000
    Infiniti Q70 3.7x - 330 hp - 4068 lbs - $52,500

    TLDR Version: you have no idea what you're talking about.

    (edit to clarify GS 350 AWD)
    DaveBG and JaredTheDragon like this.
  13. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,164   +1,416

    The Escort cost what? $12,000? This is a $35,000 car and should be compared to that standard.

    it's a bummer, but not that surprising that Telsa is having problems. They've been making promises on the wrong side of realistic for a while now. They're now laying off middle management, and key people are leaving for other jobs.

    I don't think this is the downfall of them or anything, but it does remind us that when someone comes along and appears to be doing something much better than everyone else (like making electric cars) we should remember that there are always a few shortcuts taken that show up eventually.
  14. GHynson

    GHynson TS Rookie

    Why use the brakes?
    Just let the Autopilot bring you to a full stop after ramming into the back of that bus.
    JaredTheDragon likes this.
  15. JaredTheDragon

    JaredTheDragon TS Guru Posts: 637   +411

    This makes me happy. Every time we see Elan Mask fail, it's cause for a celebration. Ghosts don't deserve real credit.
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 15,183   +4,128

    Is there some valid reason why you cherry picked a lot of high end brands to do your price comparison?

    As a matter of fact, in a recent article here at Techsp[ot, it was claimed Tesla isn't even shipping the low end versions of the model 3. Now if you want to go for the $75.000. jobbie, you might get your car.

    You people amaze me. Nobody can tell anything negative about Tesla or their "exalted leader", Elon Musk. When somebody does point out any deficiencies, it's sort of like spitting on a crucifix, in front of the pope.

    Here, read this from Wikipedia....

    " As of February 2017, Tesla planned to ramp up production to exceed 5,000 vehicles per week in Q4 2017 and reach 10,000 vehicles per week in 2018.[90] However, Tesla missed their Q4 production target by far, as only 2,425 vehicles were produced during the entire 3-month period.[96][97] 5 months before, Musk claimed on Twitter that Tesla would be able to produce 20,000 Model 3 per month by December of the same year. Tesla's actual production numbers were therefore 93% lower than his prediction.[96]"

    In point of fact, with the massive losses Tesla has piled up over the years, it's a lot closer to a major stock fraud, than a viable car company.
    Last edited: May 23, 2018
  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 15,183   +4,128

    Actually, car's defrosters have been coupled to its air conditioner since the mid 70's minimum. Which means yeah, all of the climate control functions should be available without going through a bunch of bullsh!t computer screens.
  18. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 886   +382

    You can see the climate control buttons at the bottom of the screen, no idea how the controls are, but they appear to always be there instead of behind a menu.
  19. GHynson

    GHynson TS Rookie

    I agree,
    Never liked Elon, I knew he was a Corporate "Sham" when I first saw him. He only cares about catering to the rich, and his shareholders. That's why you will never see a car for under $40k from Tesla. If you do, it will be a piece of junk. Everything Elon has stated about his company is BS and one failure after another. Most of his early engineers that helped build Tesla left a long time ago due to his caring more about the corporate culture than actual R&D. And then he laid off over a thousand workers after they help build his assembly plant. The guy is just another @$$hole like most other rich CEO's. He spent billions of dollars of government funds and money from pre-orders and barely has anything to show for it. If that isn't what you call a corporate scam, than there is something wrong with you people.
    IAMTHESTIG and captaincranky like this.
  20. MasterMace

    MasterMace TS Booster Posts: 91   +55

    It isnt Cherry picking. The vehicle is a luxury car, with all wheel drive, and a mid size. An Apples to Apples comparison would compare a Mid Size AWD luxury car with other Mid Size AWD Luxury cars. Did I exhaustively include every brand? No. I believe I left off Hyundai, Acura, Cadillac, and Lincoln.

    The comment that I had quoted said it was heavy and expensive for its class. The comparison I gave showed that for at least 7 of the 11 cars in its class, the braking issue is not that the car is heavy, and the car is not overpriced.

    These cars are also not in the upper echelon of Luxury cars. They are simply the mid sized cars. You can jump up to the next class up, and be comparing those cars to the Model S. But if you're wondering why you dont see cars like a Honda, it's because they are either not in the same class, or dont have AWD, and thus not apples to apples

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,772   +838

    He was comparing the weights... not the price. Now let's see the braking distances for all those vehicles as well, compared to the Tesla. Then we will have something.
  22. MasterMace

    MasterMace TS Booster Posts: 91   +55

    Braking distances are much more difficult numbers to pull up. I have access to Consumer Reports reviews, and cant find where they get these numbers. Using other reviewers, I found the BMW 530i with the Optional braking upgrade had a 124 ft stopping distance as an improvement, I couldnt find the original stopling distance. Car and Driver had this bit, although the models dont match, and the speed is 70mph-0mph. The tesla is the RWD veraion not the awd

    Last edited: May 23, 2018
  23. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 15,183   +4,128

    For the sake of convenience, the cars you specified are already overpriced.

    To some extent, It's hard to tout "all wheel drive", as a "luxury option" on the Tesla, as it's simply the most convenient way to get power to the ground. You just stuff a motor on each wheel, which eliminates the drive train complications of an AWD ICE vehicle.

    I suppose we could go back and forth for hours on the superiority or virtues of each method of propulsion, but I'll spare you, if you'll spare me.

    The price range of the Model 3, if I haven't been mislead, extends to the low 70K region, and these are the cars hitting the streets, not the 50K "bargains", being discussed.

    I haven't read anything anywhere, that the interior of Teslas in general, measure up to anything more substantial than a higher end Hyundai, "people mover".

    That said, if I live long enough to buy another car, for certain it will be a short wheelbase Jeep "Wrangler", with a nasty V6 ICE. Here in the hood, you can't run an extension cord outside to charge your stinking electric car, or it would be stolen and sold for the copper.:D
  24. Ravey

    Ravey TS Addict Posts: 164   +71

    So the graphs above are for distances for 70 - 0, where as the braking distances from Consumer Reports are for 60 - 0.. Can anyone pull up a chart to compare the correct speeds?
  25. Mao666

    Mao666 TS Rookie

    what planet or basement do you exist in.
    MasterMace likes this.

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