Consumer Reports brought down the hammer on Tesla this week for its new cars, which lack autonomous emergency braking (AEB), even though older ones do not.
Consumer Reports says it has lowered ratings for both the Tesla Model S hatchback and Tesla Model X crossover because its latest iteration of these vehicles still lacks AEB. Considering the outlet raises ratings for cars that contain this feature, it’s not like this move is unwarranted.
The Model S lost two points, going from a score of 87 to 85. This moved it from the top slot to third in its segment, behind the Lexus LS and BMW 7 Series. The Model X also lost two points, from 58 to 56. It’s now near the bottom in its segment.
Newer Tesla models lack this feature because Tesla started adding a brand new hardware suite to its vehicles in October 2016. This “Hardware 2.0” (HW2) update promised eventual autonomy, but many safety systems left the factory disabled. Tesla promised to enable these systems as it grows more confident of its new hardware, and so far, it’s reenabled features like adaptive cruise control and automatic steering. AEB is still not active, however.
Tesla confirmed to Roadshow that the over-the-air rollout of automatic emergency braking began yesterday. CR promised that it would reevaluate the Model S and Model X ratings once AEB was enabled.
If you’re not familiar, AEB enables a car to brake in lieu of a driver’s right foot. Sensors, cameras and other pieces of equipment can discern when a vehicle is barreling down on an object, and if necessary, it can apply the brakes to either mitigate damage or possibly prevent an accident entirely. While it’s not standard on every car just yet, it’s slowly moving that way, especially as it’s now required to earn the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ accolade.