Car News

Elon Vows Upgraded Tesla Model 3 Brakes

The Tesla Model 3 has landed in Canada, and an all-wheel drive version is nearly here, along with an even quicker Performance version. But after some negative reviews of its braking performance, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has vowed free improvements on the Model 3's braking performance for all current and future owners.

Consumer Reports has added a Model 3 to the company's test fleet. That means a full going-over of the car's interior, exterior, and performance. Following the testing, the publication said that it could not give the Model 3 a Recommended rating as is.

The reasons included a stiff ride, unsupportive rear seats, and excessive wind noise, as well as the choice to put nearly all of the controls on the touchscreen. But the big issue was braking performance.

The Model 3's stopping distance was "far worse than any contemporary car we’ve tested." At 46.3 m to stop from 100 km/h, it was just over two metres longer to stop than an F-150 pickup and about 7.5 m longer than the class average. The CR braking test has the driver slam on the brakes at 96 km/h until the car stops. It's repeated to ensure consistent results, and the vehicle is driven to allow the brakes to cool. They do all of their tests on the same piece of asphalt, and the surface is monitored for consistent friction.

The first Model 3 stop was 39.6 m, near what Tesla claims for the car. But after that, the distance was not repeatable, even with the car left to sit overnight. A second test car, obtained from another owner, showed the same results, resulting in that long average stop.

Musk replied to the news in his usual way, via Twitter. He thought the long braking distance was strange, suggesting that the company hadn't seen an issue like this, but that they will look into it and it may be solved with a software update.

Macro alias: EmbeddedTweet

But then Musk made a very bold statement. Even if new parts were needed, the company would make sure that all Model 3s would have amazing braking. For free. If there is a hardware problem with some cars, that could become an expensive guarantee, but one that's likely to make owners happy.

You'll need those amazing brakes, because Musk also announced the Performance and all-wheel drive dual-motor versions earlier this week. The specs for the dual-motor version include a 499 km range, the same as the single-motor version. But acceleration is slashed, letting it hit 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds, 0.6 seconds quicker than the standard long-range option. The cost for that is $US 5,000. Since Tesla pricing normally follows current exchange rates, that's about $6,410. The Performance version has the same range, hits 100 in just 3.5 seconds, and is priced at US $78,000 or just over $100,000 in Canada. Orders for those were expected to open Sunday night.