Tesla Model 3 has achieved the lowest probability of injury of any vehicle ever tested by NHTSA.
Now you can watch all the Model 3 crash test videos on which the results are based.
When accounting for all the probabilities of injury in a crash, Model 3 achieved less than 6% – beating Model S and Model X, which took the second and third places of all cars tested by NHTSA.
Though, as Tesla CEO Elon Musk noted, the Model X and Model S would be first and second when accounting for the weight.
Tesla says that it leverages its work on the Model S and Model X to develop the safety architecture of the Model 3.
The large battery pack resulting in a low center of gravity and a near 50/50 weight distribution contributed significantly to the safety performance.
Model 3 also performed really well on the frontal crash test and part of that can be attributed to the large front crumple zone.
Like all electric vehicles, the Model 3 doesn’t have a large engine in the front, which gives the opportunity to design a large crumple zone to absorb more energy during a crash.
While the crumple zone delays the energy hitting the passenger cabin, Tesla’s airbag system is deploying:
“Specially designed passenger airbags are shaped to protect an occupant’s head in angled or offset crashes, and active vents dynamically adjust the internal pressure of the frontal airbags to optimize protection based on the unique characteristics of the crash. Front and knee airbags and a collapsible steering column work to further reduce injury, all contributing to Model 3’s 5-star rating in frontal impact.”
The same advantages transfer to the pole impact.
Tesla also described other features that enabled it to achieve great pole impact results:
“In pole impact crashes, in which a narrow obstruction impacts the car between the main crash rails, energy-absorbing lateral and diagonal beam structures work to mitigate the impact. This includes a high-strength aluminum bumper beam, a sway bar placed low and forward in the front of the car, cross-members at the front of the steel subframe that are connected to the main crash rails, and additional diagonal beams in the subframe that distribute energy back to the crash rails when they aren’t directly impacted. An ultra-high strength martensitic steel beam is also attached to the top of the front suspension to further absorb crash energy from severe impacts, and the rear part of the subframe is shaped like a “U” and buckles down when impacted. These structures continue to be effective even when a front motor is added for Model 3 Dual-Motor All-Wheel Drive, due to the fact that the subframe is designed to pull the nose of the motor down and out of the way.”
Interestingly, there’s already a real-life example of a pole impact in the wild when a Tesla Model 3 crashed head-on into traffic light pole.
That car, along with the crash test vehicles, is a rear-wheel-drive Long Range Model 3, but Tesla expects similar results with the dual motor version with is also equipped with a small front motor.
Here are all the different crash tests of the Tesla Model 3:
What is most interesting about the high safety performance of the Model 3, and Tesla’s other vehicles, is a lot of the results can be attributed to features designed around the fact that the vehicle is electric. Things like the fortified battery architecture protecting against side impact, the weight distribution, with a skateboard-like powertrain, and the lack of a large engine in the front resulting in a large crumple zone make notable differences in safety.
It looks like there’s an important opportunity to improve vehicle safety by just making vehicles all-electric.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.