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Model S regains top Consumer Reports safety rating

CR had criticized the company for temporarily downgrading its automatic emergency braking system.

Tesla's Model S has regained its status as Consumer Reports' top-rated ultra-luxury sedan.

The EV had been downgraded for months after Tesla switched to its second-generation Autopilot hardware, which transitioned away from a third-party automatic emergency braking (AEB) system and required the automaker to redevelop the feature in-house. During the transition time, the company disabled the system altogether and later dropped the top AEB activation speed from 90 mph to just 28 mph.

CR had criticized the company for temporarily downgrading software on vehicles built after mid-October and missing its initial delivery target of late 2016 for reactivation.

"On April 21, CR informed Tesla that it planned to lower the ratings for the two models. Tesla began sending over-the-air software updates on April 26. CR's Model S received its AEB update the next day," the magazine said, noting that the April update only worked at speeds up to 28 mph.

Tesla finally raised the AEB threshold to 90 mph via a software update earlier this month, nine months after the feature was disabled.

CR has urged all automakers to make AEB a standard technology before 2022, the voluntary target established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"Automakers should never treat safety as a luxury item," says Consumers Union policy analyst William Wallace. "Proven, life-saving safety features should be in every new car sold, and automakers certainly should not wait until 2022 to make automatic emergency braking standard."

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