Why The Tesla Model X Earned A Perfect Rollover Safety Rating — 1st For An SUV

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The Tesla Model X is a faberge egg of a car, according to Tesla CEO Elon Musk on the Q4 2018 earnings call, but while it may have one-off features like pedestal seats and falcon-wing doors, its DNA has always been that of a Tesla.

At its very core, that means safety. Tesla may be known for its electric vehicles, but the company has always been motivated to help people. Tesla builds the safest consumer vehicles in the world, bar none. That doesn’t come with any asterisks for safest *electric* vehicle or safest *zero emission* vehicle — just the safest vehicles in every class it has vehicles in, across the board.

Safety has always been one of those things that nobody wants to pay for as an option, so Tesla just built it into every vehicle, without exception. It is the one feature of the car every single driver hopes to never have to use. We never want to test the airbags or the rollover rating or the side crash safety of our vehicles, but it becomes the top priority in the blink of an eye.

Just like that, the only thing that matters about the car, or in life, is how safe it is.

This is especially true for SUVs. By definition, they are built on truck chassis, which gives them high ground clearance, and because of their large cabins, a high center of gravity. That translates to a higher likelihood of the vehicle rolling over. As our EV Safety Advantage report indicates, “2% of crashes involve a rollover, but they cause 35% of deaths.” Also, “Tesla Model S achieves a record low 5.7% rollover likelihood in a single-vehicle crash, and Tesla Model X achieves the best rating among comparable SUVs.”

To counteract the rollover design flaw of SUVs and other vehicles, Tesla started with a blank sheet of paper and ended up with a skateboard-based design that puts the mass of batteries that power the vehicle in the lowest part of the vehicle.

In a condition that might result in a rollover, the Model X’s battery keeps the car pinned to the road as best as it can, minimizing the potential for a rollover. Tesla’s internal testing and testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that its design resulted in a rollover safety rating that put it at the top of the class, scoring a perfect rating for rollover safety, thanks to its massive battery.

The modern rollover test was implemented by the NHTSA in 2004 in response to the increasing popularity of SUVs. It puts vehicles through a series of tests, including a sharp J-turn and a fishhook that test the willingness of the vehicle to roll.

The Tesla FUDsters at Business Insider turned a corner on this one themselves and put together a refreshingly nice video about the safety of the Model X that explains some of the nuances of why the Model X is the safest SUV out there. Check it out below.

Photos courtesy Tesla

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Kyle Field

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. As an activist investor, Kyle owns long term holdings in Tesla, Lightning eMotors, Arcimoto, and SolarEdge.

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