(Reuters) – U.S. consumer bible Consumer Reports stopped short of recommending Tesla Inc’s (TSLA.O) Model 3 electric car on Monday, criticizing it for its braking and taking the shine off a day of gains for shares in billionaire Elon Musk’s venture.
Musk had driven shares in the electric carmaker higher with a weekend twitter discussion which argued the company should focus more initially on delivering higher-priced fully-loaded editions of the Model 3 sedan.
That car is seen as crucial to Tesla’s profitability at a time when it is battling reports of crashes involving its vehicles, a shortage of cash and production problems.
Consumer Reports, however, declined to recommend the Model 3 and criticized it for having overly-long stopping distances and difficult-to-use controls.
Tesla shares were last up 2.5 percent at $283.90, having risen more than 4 percent after investors were encouraged by Musk’s $78,000 price tag for the fully-loaded version of the sedan.
Consumer Reports, whose scorecard is influential among consumers and industry executives, said even though its tests found plenty to like about the Model 3, it had “big flaws”.
Tesla’s stopping distance of 152 feet when braking at 60 mph was far worse than any contemporary car tested by the magazine and about seven feet longer than the stopping distance of a Ford (F.N) F-150 full-sized pickup.
Responding, a Tesla spokesperson said: “Tesla’s own testing has found braking distances with an average of 133 feet when conducting the 60-0 mph stops using the 18” Michelin all season tire and as low as 126 feet with all tires currently available.
“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.”
Reporting by Vibhuti Sharma and Sonam Rai in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham