After being awarded 5-Star Safety Ratings from the European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP), the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), and the US’ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Tesla Model 3 is heading towards another set of crash tests, this time from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a nonprofit group funded by car insurers dedicated to reducing the number of accidents and injuries on the road.
The schedule for the Tesla Model 3’s impending crash tests were announced by the IIHS on Wednesday through its official Twitter account. The IIHS later shared an image of the vehicle that it will use for its crash tests: a blue Model 3 with black interior and 18″ wheels. The organization added that next week’s test will include a side crash test.
Interestingly, the vehicle that the IIHS will use for its upcoming crash tests does not seem to be the same Model 3 that was used when the group conducted preliminary safety tests on the vehicle last year. It should be noted that in May 2018, the IIHS has performed preliminary safety tests on a red Long Range Model 3 RWD, which was the only available variant of the electric sedan at the time.
The results were impressive then, with the group giving the Model 3 a “Superior” score for front crash prevention in its crash avoidance and mitigation category. This was primarily due to the Model 3’s suite of safety features, including its low-speed autobrake, and its high-speed autobrake systems. Nevertheless, the electric sedan did not receive a flawless rating from the IIHS in its preliminary tests, due to the Model 3’s low beams exhibiting a 15.2% glare during straightaways.
This rating was eventually adjusted and raised in December 2018, when the IIHS announced on Twiter that the Model 3’s headlights, which were improved and updated by Tesla, have been given a “Good” rating. The organization noted in its December announcement that the Model 3 headlights’ higher rating was reflective of electric sedans that were produced after June 2018.
Tesla has rolled out improvements to the Model 3 since the IIHS’ latest update on the vehicle last December. Considering that the IIHS’ teaser on Twitter featured what appeared to be a separate car from the Model 3 it tested last year, the group could very well be evaluating a newer build of the electric car. Hopefully, this is the case, as this would allow the IIHS to provide a safety rating on the Model 3 that is especially accurate of vehicles that are being produced today.
This could ultimately bode well for Tesla and its midsize electric sedan. As noted by Elon Musk, improvements to the company’s vehicles are rolled out as soon as they are ready. Thus, the Model 3 that the IIHS will be testing next week will likely feature improvements over the Model 3 that the group tested in May 2018 and December 2018 (provided that the vehicle was a newer build, of course). The results of the safety group’s tests next week will likely hold the answer.