Tesla has been hyping up the safety of its vehicles for years, but on Friday night Tesla CEO Elon Musk casually dropped a stupendous clip of side-by-side footage that shows just how the brand-new Tesla Model 3 holds up to punishment.

Musk unveiled the Tesla Model 3 Friday evening in a raucous live-streamed event, and one of the most notable parts of the presentation was watching how well the new car withstands damage and destruction.

When designing the Model 3, Tesla’s engineers sought to make something “light, but also affordable,” Musk explained. “Where this really shows up is in things like safety.”

And he wasn’t lying. A quick glimpse at a side-by-side crash demonstration feed with the Volvo S60 — a vehicle with its own 5-star safety rating — illustrates the dramatically higher safety standards Tesla is pursuing with its latest car.

THe Tesla Model 3 and Volvo S60 side by side.
Whoomph. 

“There are a lot of cars that say they are 5-star … there is not a scientific metric,” Musk wryly pointed out. “The Volvo [S60] is arguably the second safest car in the world.”

“It is obvious,” he emphasized, “which car you would prefer to be in in an accident.”

Musk has played up this distinction before, noting how the unique design of electric vehicles can actually make them safer for their occupants and the occupants of other vehicles they hit, largely because the lack of a traditional engine block increases the crumple zones.

The video speaks for itself, although certainly other third-party motor vehicle safety raters will seek to test out the veracity of Musk’s claim for themselves. Nevertheless, the video is a pretty robust sign Tesla isn’t simply focused on turning conventional car designs into electric, but rather improving such designs on multiple fronts. Tesla’s biggest selling point has always been that it’s a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly option for driving around the country than any other motor vehicle. It’s kind of an obvious advantage for electric cars — and the safety standards are just icing on the cake.


Check out a slightly longer version of the video here:

Photos via Tesla