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Are Teslas the Safest Cars in the World? All Models Compared

When it comes to safety, we all want the best and safest cars to protect us and our families. Electric cars and especially Teslas have a clear advantage over conventional ICE vehicles. But are Teslas actually the safest vehicles on the market?

Overall as a car brand, Tesla builds the safest cars in the world. Almost every Tesla that has been tested earned a 5-star safety rating in every category from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Tesla Model Y is rated as the safest SUV in the world.

But what exactly is Tesla doing to achieve all these prestigious safety ratings? Check out the rest of this article to find out exactly.

Tesla Model Y Safety Rating

In 2020, Tesla Model Y achieved a prestigious 5-star safety rating for all safety categories from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This rating now makes Model Y the safest car ever built. 

Later, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), an independent company conducting safety crash tests on vehicles in the US, released a report confirming that Tesla Model Y attained the highest possible safety rating.

Frontal Crash Rating

Model Y achieved NHTSA 5-star rating for the overall front safety. The rating includes the front driver side and front passenger side.

To determine the vehicle’s rating, NHTSA performs a frontal barrier test simulating a head-on collision between two identical cars, each speeding at 35 mph (56 kph).

Crash-Test

Rollover Rating

NHTSA rollover resistance test, which determines the probability of a car rolling over in a loss-of-control event, yielded a 7.9% rollover risk on Model Y.

This rate is the lowest one that any SUV has ever achieved under the NHTSA rating system. 

Side Crash

Model Y achieved a 5-star rating for NHTSA overall side rating and side barrier and pole ratings.

A vehicle must have standard and acceptable headlights across all trims to earn the IIHS top-tier Safety Pick award. Model Y’s front crash prevention system, a camera-only system, gave the vehicle a superior IIHS safety rating for both car-pedestrian and car-car collision tests.

Reasons Model Y Achieved the Highest Possible Safety Rating

Model Y boasts the same structural integrity as all other Teslas. Other highlights that have given Teslas a reputation for safety include:

  • The car has energy-absorbing side crumple zones to reduce side impact effects.
  • The battery is mounted low to minimize rollover risks.
  • Its metal body can carry many times the car’s weight.

Did you know? Tesla’s automatic emergency braking engages the brake when the car is about to hit an obstacle.

Here’s a YouTube video detailing Model Y crash tests:

Model 3 Safety Rating

Tesla’s Model 3 earned top safety ratings from vehicle safety agencies in Europe, North America, and Australia. 

EuroNCAP, a consumer information agency, awarded Model 3 a 5-star crash test safety rating, and IIHS awarded this model a 2019 Top Safety Pick award.

Tesla’s Model 3 also achieved the lowest injury risk score of any car tested by NHTSA, earning a 5-star safety rating in all categories. NHTSA crash test results on Tesla Model 3 Long Range show that the car’s occupants are less likely to suffer severe injuries in a Model 3 car than in any other vehicle.

Reasons Why Model 3 Achieved This Safety Rating

The Tesla Model 3’s safety rating is so high due to the following reasons:

  • Tesla designed the Model 3 with a 50/50 weight distribution and a low polar moment of inertia, which means the vehicle’s heavy parts are near its center of gravity.
  • Tesla positioned the Model 3’s rear motor slightly in front of its rear axle instead of behind it to improve the vehicle’s agility, handling experience, and stability control by reducing rotational kinetic energy. 
  • On top of this, Tesla’s Model 3 features a superior crumple zone designed to absorb large amounts of crash energy.

Tesla’s Model S Safety Rating

Tesla’s Model S has earned an NHTSA 5.4 star safety rating in all categories. Model S joins other Tesla Models to make up only 1% of vehicles to receive such high ratings. Model S comes on top of every other US-built minivan and SUV in front, rear, lateral, and rollover tests.

Reasons Why Model S Achieved This Safety Rating

The vehicle’s excellent rollover rating stems from the low center of gravity, thanks to its floor-mounted battery packs. Tesla’s Model S is so stable that the testing engineers had to find creative ways to flip it over to get rollover test results.

Random Fun Fact:

Tesla performed its tests on Model S guided by NHTSA test procedures to uncover weaknesses with the car. Tesla went ahead to fix these weaknesses and earned NHTSA 5-star ratings.

Here’s a comparison between Tesla’s Model S and Volvo S60’s Side Impact Intrusion Test results:

Vehicle Type and ModelStar RatingSide Impact Intrusion testing
Tesla’s Model S5.4Retained 63.5% of driver’s residual space
Volvo S605Retained 7.8% of driver’s residual space
This table shows the Side Impact Intrusion Test results for Model S and Volvo S60 (Source: Auto 123)

What’s more, the equipment used in Tesla’s Model S roof strength test failed at 4g’s, meaning Model S’s roof can support four times the car’s weight without bending the pillar.

Tesla’s Model X Safety Ratings

Euro NCAP tested and awarded Tesla’s Model X a 5-star rating. It also scored an impressive 98% for adult occupant safety, 94% for the driver-assist system, and 81% and 72% for child occupant and pedestrian safety, respectively.

Model X also made history when it became the first-ever SUV to receive a 5-star safety rating in all categories from NHTSA.

Statistic: In 2019’s third quarter, Tesla recorded only one crash in which the driver had engaged the autopilot.

Reasons Why Model X Achieved This Safety Rating

The Model X achieved its safety rating based on the following reasons:

  • Tesla’s Model X features state-of-the-art safety technology such as automatic energy braking and collision avoidance systems. 
  • A low center of gravity, like all other Teslas, gives Model X an edge over regular SUVs’ instability.
  • The large crumple zone in the hood absorbs large amounts of energy in case of a frontal crash.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Tesla a Safe Car?

Teslas are safe cars. Every Tesla provides maximum safety for occupants and pedestrians, and Teslas are the safest, best-rated cars worldwide. No other vehicle has achieved higher ratings. 

Do All Teslas Have Safety Scores?

All Teslas have safety scores. Various models have different scores, although they are all 5-star and above. Be sure to check the safety rating for your Tesla to see all of its features. 


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Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

Thanks for visiting evspeedy.com. The goal of this site is to be a helpful resource for Tesla and EV owners as this is where my passion lies. I was a TSLA shareholder before the hype and still am. I also believe in Tesla’s speedy mission to accelerate the world to a sustainable future.