The Tesla Model 3 has racked up impressively high safety scores with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, earning the lowest probability of injury score ever. CEO Elon Musk applauded the stats on Friday by stating that a Tesla is “objectively much safer in a crash than all other cars, according to NHTSA’s own calculations. This is just physics!”
The stats refer to the administration’s crash test data, which show the details behind the Model 3’s performance during tests. The vehicle earned a five-star rating in every tested category last month, and Tesla followed up by declaring the car the safest ever tested. The administration responded with a statement that said it “does not distinguish safety performance beyond that rating, thus there is no ‘safest’ vehicle among those vehicles achieving 5-star ratings.” However, InsideEVs noted that the raw data shows a probability of injury for the Model 3 of under six percent, the lowest seen in the records.
Musk previously explained this high score as akin to an ice skater, which uses the polar moment of inertia to control speed with the distance of weightiest parts of an object from its center of gravity. Musk explained that the car has the “same weight, but spins/turns much faster with arms in vs arms out. Same principle is true for a car.” In this case, Tesla’s electric cars pack the heavy batteries underneath the passengers, unlike a regular vehicle where the engine is stored under the hood.
The vehicle, which scored a five-star rating in all categories similar to the Model S and Model X, came top in all categories. This covered a head-on crash between two cars moving at 35 mph (two sets of five stars), an intersection collision between a vehicle and a barrier moving at 38.5 mph (two sets of five stars), a crash into a fixed object like a tree (five stars), and the risk of rollover when losing control (no dynamic tip, 6.6 percent rollover resistance, five stars).
Tesla is expected to launch its next electric vehicle, the Model Y, at an event in the spring next year. The cheaper sports utility vehicle will offer an entry-level alternative to the Model X for price-conscious consumers.
After that, the company plans to send the Semi truck and second-generation Roadster out to the public next year and 2020 respectively.