Tesla has long topped the charts in the USA when it comes to detailed breakdowns of NHTSA safety analyses. The Model S became the safest car ever tested years ago, and the Model X, Model 3, and Model Y also found their way to the top tier of the safest cars in the USA. Now Tesla has taken the #1 spot in Europe as well with the Model Y. The Model Y just got the top score ever recorded from the Euro NCAP safety rating system.
An image is worth a thousand words, so let’s start with the chart.
Elon Musk has long emphasized that safety is Tesla’s #1 priority in vehicle design. In numerous presentations, he has been adamant about that. Regarding this latest achievement, Tesla writes: “At Tesla, vehicle design is an iterative process through which we aim to make some of the safest cars on the road even safer. Today, Model Y is our latest vehicle to earn a 5-star safety rating from the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP).
“As part of this assessment, Model Y received the highest Overall Score among any vehicle tested under Euro NCAP’s newest, most stringent test protocol. This was based on an evaluation of Model Y’s ability to protect adults, children and vulnerable road users like cyclists and pedestrians, as well as its safety assistance features.”
Model Y = only the best score of any vehicle ever tested, no big deal.
Where are all the FUDsters that claimed Tesla vehicles aren't safe? pic.twitter.com/H2yOSI4q3i
— James Cat (@TSLAFanMtl) September 8, 2022
It’s true — many misinformed critics have claimed for years that Tesla vehicles are unsafe (for one misleading or misguided reason or another). However, independent analysis after independent analysis has found Teslas lead in safety. Safety was actually one of my 4 top reasons for buying a Tesla Model 3.
Tesla notes that the Model Y was also #1 for adult protection, according to Euro NCAP. “Model Y also achieved an outstanding score of 97% in the Adult Occupant Protection category—once again the highest of any vehicle tested in this protocol. This category score is determined by a series of frontal, side and rear whiplash tests in addition to an analysis of several other safety attributes such as rescue, extrication and post-crash safety.”
Other electric vehicles that scored well in these categories include the Wey Coffee 01*, Mercedes-Benz EQS, Polestar 2, Ora Funky Cat, Volkswagen ID.5 & ID.4 & ID.3, Cupra Born, Lynk & Co 01, Skoda Enyaq, Volvo C40 Recharge, and BMW iX. Unfortunately, some electric cars scored very poorly, most notably the Renault ZOE on the bottom, the Dacia Spring a little above it, the Honda E, and the Fiat 500e. (Note: small cars don’t score well on safety tests.)
Some of the Reasons Tesla Now Offers the Safest Car in Europe
Getting back to Tesla and the Model Y, Tesla shared some of the safety improvements it has implemented relatively recently:
“Euro NCAP used new Model Y vehicles featuring our latest manufacturing techniques and safety features to complete their assessment:
- Rear Underbody Casting: The rear underbody casting combined with our fortified battery pack provides immense crash strength to the safety cell, helping to maintain compartment integrity. This strength allows our advanced restraint systems to deploy effectively inside the cabin, holding occupants in place and providing protection against cabin intrusions.
- Far-Side Airbag: Provides additional protection during side impacts, especially when there are two front occupants. This airbag deploys between the front seats to help prevent head injuries that could be caused by occupant-to-occupant contact.
- Multi-Collision Braking: Automatically applies the vehicle braking system after a collision to help prevent a secondary impact.
- Collision Avoidance Driver Monitoring System: Uses direct monitoring to detect a distracted driver and automatically adjusts the sensitivity of the Forward Collision Warning system to be more reactive.”
Is Tesla Vision Really Safe?
As long as Elon Musk has been talking about autonomy and Autopilot, he has been saying that lidar is not needed and can even be a hindrance. Others have disagreed. A much bigger matter of debate or controversy in the past year or so has been Tesla’s decision to remove radar and use a “vision only” approach to autonomous and semi-autonomous driving that relies on cameras and neural nets. Euro NCAP seems to indicate that Tesla is doing very well with that, and Tesla published a somewhat subtle or at least polite “told you so” in response:
“Model Y also received a leading score of 98 percent in Euro NCAP’s Safety Assist category. This result was achieved with Model Y vehicles equipped with Tesla Vision, our camera vision and neural net processing system that now comes standard in all Tesla vehicles delivered in North America and Europe. This score was a result that many did not believe was possible without using radar.
“Additionally, Automatic Emergency Braking continues to see major improvements during vehicle turning-across-path scenarios and when reversing with vulnerable road users in its route. Model Y also scored full points in the Lane Support System category. Lane Support Systems help reduce accidental road departures–one of the main causes of single vehicle and frontal crashes according to Euro NCAP.”
That’s right — the Model Y is #1 again. In fact, it’s a full 3 percentage points ahead of #2.
Anyone who doubts Tesla’s focus on safety has not been paying attention. Tesla is the safety king, and Euro NCAP shows that yet again.
Oh, additionally, the same day that this Euro NCAP news came out, it was announced that the Model Y got a 5-star rating from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP). Of course it did.
Tesla has been such a leader on safety that we have written about it dozens of times. For a scroll through our history on this topic, explore Tesla Safety.
Any other thoughts on Tesla’s European safety scores, its continuous focus on safety and innovation to improve safety, its driver-assist score and vision-based system, or other detailed safety analyses?
*Side note: I don’t recall ever reading about the Wey Coffee 01 before. It’s apparently a giant plugin hybrid SUV from China. Learn more about it here. It definitely has a catchy (and odd) name.
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