Consumer Reports has restored some points to its vehicle ratings for two current Tesla models because the automaker provided an update to the automatic emergency braking system that owners had been waiting for—some for as long as six months.

Despite the restored points, the Overall Scores for newer versions of Model S and Model X vehicles remain lower than earlier versions because the updated braking system doesn’t work at highway speeds. Once the models have AEB operational at higher speeds, CR testers will reconsider the scores.

On April 26 CR lowered the CR scores for the newer Model S and Model X vehicles because they didn't have the AEB system functioning in a way that the automaker said would come “standard.” 

The deduction moved the Model S out of the top spot in CR ratings for the ultra-luxury category. The Model X remained near the bottom of the luxury midsized sport-utility category after it lost its points.

CR testers award extra value to vehicles that provide automatic braking as standard. CR thinks AEB is a crucial safety feature that has proved to prevent accidents.

But the popular safety feature was missing on versions of the Model S and Model X built since Oct. 19. The company told CR it was working on rolling out the necessary software. At first Tesla said the software would be ready by the end of 2016. When that date passed, Tesla said it was coming soon but didn't give a specific timeline.  

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 update activated AEB on vehicles up to 28 mph, not to the higher limit of 90 mph on earlier versions of Tesla models that had AEB. On April 26 Tesla said that AEB would eventually work at highway speeds. The company hasn't said when that will happen and didn't respond to messages seeking comment for this article.  

Before restoring the points, CR sought confirmation that all the new Tesla models were equipped with low-speed AEB. CR found Tesla customers online and vehicles in dealerships, and learned that while most new models received updates within a week of April 26, several purchased without the option of full self-driving capability received updates that didn't include AEB. 

One such Tesla buyer is Joe Harper, 35, who owns a manufacturing company and lives in suburban Atlanta. He closed the deal on his Tesla Model S in March and it was delivered on April 28 without AEB. In a phone interview, Harper told CR his Tesla received the AEB update on May 11. He said he had been wondering about the delay.

After monitoring the situation for close to a month and discovering that the last of the Tesla owners reported receiving the AEB updates over the past week, CR restored the partial points.

While Harper is happy that AEB has finally been activated on his car, he said that he wasn’t impressed that it worked only up to 28 mph. 

Harper purchased the "Enhanced Autopilot," but he didn't pay the extra $3,000 for full self-driving capability because he figured the technology was years away from delivery and could be added later. "When Tesla gives me more of a reason to upgrade, I will,” he said.