The Tesla Model 3 and Model Y won the 2022 Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The IIHS tested a mid-range 2019 Tesla Model 3 and a Long Range 2021 Tesla Model Y for its 2022 Top Safety Pick+ award. The ratings Tesla received apply to the 2017-2022 Model 3 and 2020-2022 Model Y.
Breaking down the IIHS test, the Model 3 and the Model Y received “Good” ratings for crashworthiness, as seen below.
Both the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y received high marks in other parts of the IIHS tests as well. However, in the Crash Avoidance & Mitigation category, the Model 3 and Model Y received slightly different ratings. The Model 3 scored “Good” or “Superior” in all categories.
On the other hand, the Model Y was given a “Good” or “Acceptable” rating for headlights, with the IIHS noting that the score depended on the trim/option of the all-electric sedan. The safety agency reported that improved headlight offerings boosted more vehicles to win the top-tier Top Safety Pick+ award in 2022.
A recently published international Tesla patent suggests that Tesla’s vehicles will likely continue to achieve such high scores in evaluations such as the IIHS’ crashworthiness tests. The patent reveals how front and back megacastings act as an integrated energy absorbing system. Tesla China also provided an in-depth look into Giga Shanghai’s vehicles and how Tesla builds its cars to absorb impact.
Besides Tesla, 65 other vehicle models were recognized by the IIHS as 2022’s Top Safety Pick+ winners, and 36 models earned the lower-tier Top Safety Pick award. In total, the IIHS recognized 101 winners. In a press release, IIHS President David Harkey stated that while it is great to see numerous vehicles qualify for the Top Safety Pick+ award, it is time for the IIHS to roll out more stringent tests.
“We’re excited to see more vehicles on this list in 2022. Our awards make it easy for car buyers to find models that will protect them in a crash and increase the odds they’ll never be in one. By shooting for TOP SAFETY PICK+, automakers are showing that they’re committed to the same goal… Manufacturers deserve congratulations for the steady improvements they’ve made since we last updated our award requirements, but with U.S. traffic fatalities expected to exceed 40,000 people in 2021, it’s no time for anybody to rest on their laurels. A key reason vehicles have continued to get safer over the more than 25 years since the Institute began our ratings program is that we have never shied away from raising the bar. The high number of TOP SAFETY PICK+ winners shows that it’s time to push for additional changes,” Harkey said.
A recent IIHS study found that automatic emergency braking systems made no difference in pedestrian crashes that occurred at night. As a result, the safety agency decided to add a nighttime pedestrian crash prevention test held in complete darkness. Vehicles must earn an “Advanced” or “Superior” rating in the new nighttime test to win the Top Safety Pick+ award in 2023.
The new nighttime pedestrian crash prevention test will be an interesting evaluation for Tesla’s camera-based safety suite. During research tests on the upcoming nighttime pedestrian AEB evaluation, most of the test vehicles’ capabilities declined in the assessment conducted in complete darkness, except for one. The radar-only Volkswagen Taos maintained its performance rating in the nighttime pedestrian AEB evaluation test runs. However, the Taos was the worst performer during AEB daytime tests compared to the other vehicles in the nighttime AEB evaluation.