Tesla has earned a strong reputation for occupant safety. And in a video posted Tuesday by Tesla, the California carmaker shows that, as with every other automaker, there’s physical testing and probably a degree of trial and error involved.
The brief look at its in-house crash-testing regimen covered computer simulations all the way through to the crushing of real-life metal and the analysis that inevitably follows. And it shows both the computer-simulated crash testing procedure along with providing an up-close look at Tesla’s physical crash-testing facility and the systems behind it.
The company keeps it electric in the lab, too; two Model S Performance drive units to propel its test models into crash barriers.
The video shows Teslas undergoing both front- and rear-end crash tests, and we also get to see a crashed model on a rotisserie for post-collision evaluation.
Tesla has been criticized on multiple occasions for overstating the crashworthiness of its cars. The company was accused of misusing methodology from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to assert that the Model 3 was the safest car the federal agency had ever tested.
Tesla Model 3 crash
NHTSA issued a statement in response, saying: “A 5-star rating is the highest safety rating a vehicle can achieve. NHTSA does not distinguish safety performance beyond that rating, thus there is no ‘safest’ vehicle among those vehicles achieving 5-star ratings.”
In September, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Model 3 a Top Safety Pick+ rating, which is the highest rating it can bestow on a 2019- or 2020-model-year vehicle. It joins the Audi E-tron in achieving that honor.