The Tesla Model X has been scored as the safest SUV the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has ever tested, and the second safest vehicle the NHTSA has ever tested … only trailing the Tesla Model S.
Compared to the Tesla blog post in 2013 about the Model S breaking the NHTSA’s record safety score, Tesla toned down its bragging a little bit when publishing about the Model X’s record, but the points remain the same: 1) You can’t buy a safer car than a Tesla, 2) because Tesla cares.
It’s easy to gloss over the latter point, joke about it, or treat it as fluff. But it’s not fluff. And, actually, Tesla doesn’t seem to fluff it up at all. Tesla’s blog post about the news is dry as a rice cake. It looks like it was written by an engineer (ahem, Elon) or somebody working at a highly bureaucratic and technical organization … like the NHTSA. Instead of profusely praising Tesla’s golden heart for the high score, the Tesla blog post focuses on the broadly beneficial aspects of an electric drivetrain (perhaps as a nudge to other automakers to take the benefits of EVs to heart).
However, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has opened up before, several times. (And not just about the romantic nature of Gigafactory 1’s alignment and 10,000 wild horses.) We know that Tesla exists in large part because Elon is trying to help save humanity from itself, or help humanity save itself from societal inertia and illogical/suicidal habits, depending on how you look at it. Tesla exists not because Elon thought the business would turn him into one of the most loved billionaires on the planet, but because he thought the mission was important enough to lose all his money trying to walk a 10,000 mile tightrope. Simply put, Tesla exists because Elon cares. I know, it sounds cheesy, but this is important — this is what should drive the leaders of industry, of government, and of academia.
The climate threat and unsustainable energy threat are big parts of the story of Tesla, but that caring (sappy as it sounds) has played itself out in many ways. The safety of Tesla’s vehicles is one big way. Elon highlighted safety first when unveiling the production Model X. He put up charts demonstrating how tremendously safe the Model X is compared to other SUVs. He talked about his and Tesla’s commitment to safety above all else. He also enthusiastically unveiled a giant air filter — something I still think is one of the X’s top selling points despite the general lack of love that element has received by the chanting Tesla crowds (which are certainly more enthralled by the performance and Autopilot benefits they can see and feel).
Deep, fundamental safety is a core benefit of Tesla Model S and Model X, as NHTSA has confirmed again. It may not be what stimulates the “Ooohs!” and “Aaaahs!” of teenage boys. It may not be why the tech community is so enthralled with Tesla. It may not be what wins the day on YouTube. But it’s one of the most powerful selling points of Tesla’s vehicles to thoughtful, cautious humans. And I think it stems from Elon’s/Tesla’s core intention to do right by humans.
Oh, wait, some news is just coming in … it seems there are some cool new safety-focused YouTube videos that may beat Tesla drag racing videos this week on YouTube. Steve summarizes, via Gas2:
First, the front barrier test:
Next, the side impact test that simulates what happens if you get T boned at an intersection.
And now the sideways on ice into a telephone pole test.
There is no video available of the rollover test procedure. All videos were uploaded to YouTube by CrashNet1.
Here’s Tesla’s full blog post about the Tesla Model X’s stellar NHTSA rating:
Tesla Model X the First SUV Ever to Achieve 5-Star Crash Rating in Every Category
The Tesla Team June 13, 2017
We engineered Model X to be the safest SUV ever, and today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that after conducting independent testing, it has awarded Model X a 5-star safety rating in every category and sub-category, making it the first SUV ever to earn the 5-star rating across the board. More than just resulting in a 5-star rating, the data from NHTSA’s testing shows that Model X has the lowest probability of injury of any SUV it has ever tested. In fact, of all the cars NHTSA has ever tested, Model X’s overall probability of injury was second only to Model S.
Model X performs so much better in a crash than gas-powered SUVs because of its all-electric architecture and powertrain design. The rigid, fortified battery pack that powers Model X is mounted beneath the floor of the vehicle creating a center of gravity so low that Model X has the lowest rollover probability of any SUV on the road. No other SUV has ever come close to meeting and exceeding this rollover requirement.
NHTSA’s tests assess both the structure of the vehicle, which must minimize intrusion into the cabin and absorb as much energy as possible, and also the seatbelt and airbag restraint system, which must maximize injury mitigation in the event of a crash. Among the nine subcategories rated by NHTSA, including frontal impact, side impact, and pole impact tests conducted on both the driver and passenger side as well as the rollover test, Model X achieved 5-stars in every category and sub-category. That means that in the event of a serious crash, Model X occupants have an overall 93% probability of walking away without a serious injury – a testament to our commitment to building the safest cars on today’s roads.
Any more thoughts on the Model X safety record, the Model S safety record, and what underlies it all?
Any thoughts on where the Model 3 will land in this regard?
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Top image by Kyle Field | CleanTechnica