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May 28, 2021

The Model 3 has lost its “Top Pick” designation from Consumer Reports, after Tesla said it would switch over from radar sensors to a camera-based system on the sedan and the Model Y SUV, and that for a time, those vehicles will be delivered with key safety features “limited or inactive,” a move that was panned by the nonprofit and other safety organizations as potentially dangerous.


This week, Tesla said the Model 3 and Model Y would be sold in North America without radar sensors and replaced with Tesla Vision, a camera-based system that relies on machine learning software.

The electric car maker said in a blog post that some of the models’ features like autosteer, smart summon and emergency lane departure avoidance may be “temporarily limited or inactive” while the company rolls out the new technology, but that the features would be restored in upcoming software updates.

The news spurred the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to warn the models may now lack key safety features including forward collision warning, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking and dynamic brake support.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety followed NHTSA’s lead and indicated Wednesday it planned to remove any Model 3s built after April 27 from its Top Safety Pick+ list.

“If a driver thinks their vehicle has a safety feature and it doesn’t, that fundamentally changes the safety profile of the vehicle,” said David Friedman, Consumer Reports’ VP of advocacy. “It might not be there when they think it would save their lives.”

Tesla’s Model S and Model X models will not be affected by the production change, Tesla said, although the car maker said it plans to eventually have those vehicles use Tesla Vision as well. Those models, along with Tesla vehicles sold outside of North America, will “continue to be equipped with radar ... until we determine the appropriate time to transition those vehicles to Tesla Vision,” the company said in a blog post. Tesla’s Model 3 was named a Consumer Reports Top Pick last year, one of just three cars on the list in the $45,000 to $55,000 price category. 

Source: Forbes
Image Source: Getty Images