We have yet to see any result from third-party crash tests on the Tesla Model 3, but we are still learning about the safety performance of the car through real-world accidents.
Now an owner reports back on what could be the first reported Model 3 rollover accident.
All-electric vehicles are often hard to roll over thanks to their often large battery pack installed at the bottom of the vehicle – keeping the center of gravity really low.
But it doesn’t mean that they can’t roll over. Enough speed combined with hitting an object acting as a ramp and you can see pretty much any car fly.
It’s exactly what happened to a Model 3 owner’s wife this week.
He shared his wife’s accident on the Tesla subreddit (reprinted with permission):
“Figured I would share this since it may be the first rollover accident of a Model 3. It happened earlier this week, my wife was the only one in the car at the time and her memory of the events is blurry because everything happened so fast but the following is what we know.
She was traveling on the freeway at approximately 70mph in the left lane. The car collided with a second vehicle in the middle lane. The front driver side of the Model 3 then hit the cement median with enough force to shear the front wheel off. Then the slide sideways and started rolling. A witness said the car rolled “several times” before finally settling upside down. The other car also hit the median, though much less violently, and we believe the driver was uninjured.”
He shared images of the aftermath of the accident after the “several” rolls:
The owner says that his wife was able to exit the car and sustained “only minor injuries.” He explains:
“Several good people immediately stopped and helped her. Surprisingly the drivers side window rolled down (actually up) and the door was able to be opened with the normal button (as opposed to the emergency release). She initially thought she was fine but was convinced to head to the hospital in an ambulance as a precaution. Turns out that was a good idea because there was a compression fracture in one of her vertebrae. They released her after a few hours and she is recovering well. There was also several bruises, a small friction burn from the airbags, and general soreness the day after.”
As for the car, he believes it “performed exceptionally well.” He added:
“I thought the car performed spectacularly from a safety standpoint. The driver seat airbags protected her during the roll including one underneath the steering wheel for her legs which I didn’t even know was there. As you can see from the photos the cabin was completely intact. The windshield and glass roof obviously shattered but they did not intrude into the cabin at all.”
Again, we still haven’t seen official safety ratings for the Model 3, but Tesla claims that it is always the number one priority and like Model S and Model X, it is aiming for a 5-star rating with NHTSA.
Last year, Tesla said in their shareholder’s letter that they had positive results from early Model 3 crash tests:
“Initial crash test results have been positive, and all Model 3-related sourcing is on plan to support the start of production in July.“
We know that the IIHS is currently testing the Model 3 and back in May, they released their first Tesla Model 3 safety test results, but it doesn’t include crash test results yet.