Tesla has released its vehicle safety report for the second quarter of 2019. Similar to previous quarters, the report showed that Teslas operating on Autopilot are less likely to meet accidents on the road compared to vehicles operating without the driver-assist system enabled. Tesla’s report this quarter also included statistics on vehicle fires for the first time.
Fires involving Teslas are quite rare, with some quarters having recorded no vehicle fires at all. This, according to Tesla, results in some challenges, as an increase from one fire per quarter to two fires per quarter would result in a raise of 100%. Tesla has thus stated that it will provide annual vehicle fire data to avoid a misrepresentation of numbers and assure a meaningful comparison to the industry average.
The electric car maker’s data shows that between 2012-2018, there was approximately one Tesla vehicle fire for every 170 million miles traveled. Considering that the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the US Department of Transportation record one vehicle fire for every 19 million miles traveled, Tesla’s figures make its electric cars over eight times less likely to be involved fires.
It should also be noted that Tesla’s vehicle fire statistics for 2012-2018 are not exclusive to incidents where the electric cars actually catch fire. Instead, Tesla’s data includes incidents resulting from structure fires, arson, and several other factors unrelated to the vehicles themselves.
Tesla’s Q2 2019 vehicle safety report also showed one accident for every 3.27 million miles driven with Autopilot engaged. Vehicles without Autopilot but have Tesla’s active safety features engaged, on the other hand, recorded one accident for every 2.19 million miles driven. Cars operating with no Autopilot and active safety features enabled recorded one accident every 1.41 million miles.
These figures are an improvement to Tesla’s first-quarter results, when the company recorded one accident for every 2.87 million miles driven on Autopilot, 1.76 million miles driven with active safety features but no Autopilot, and 1.26 million miles driven with no Autopilot and active safety features enabled. These results, while below the figures for the second quarter, are still notably superior to the NHTSA’s data, which currently stand at one accident for every 498,000 miles driven.
Tesla’s electric cars are among the safest vehicles on the road. The Model 3, for example, has earned stellar safety ratings from both the NHTSA and the Euro-NCAP, where the electric sedan set a new benchmark for safety. The Model 3 was granted a perfect 5-Star rating by the Euro NCAP in all four of its safety tests’ categories: Adult Occupant Protection, which tests how the vehicle protects its driver and passenger; Child Occupant Protection, which gauges the protection of younger occupants; Vulnerable Road Users, which tests a vehicle’s safety features for cyclists and pedestrians; and Safety Assist, which evaluates a car’s active safety capabilities.
Tesla’s Q2 2019 vehicle safety report could be read below.
In the 2nd quarter, we registered one accident for every 3.27 million miles driven in which drivers had Autopilot engaged. For those driving without Autopilot but with our active safety features, we registered one accident for every 2.19 million miles driven. For those driving without Autopilot and without our active safety features, we registered one accident for every 1.41 million miles driven. By comparison, NHTSA’s most recent data shows that in the United States there is an automobile crash every 498,000 miles.
Vehicle Fire Data
Tesla vehicle fires are exceptionally rare events, and in some cases, there have been zero Tesla vehicle fires in a quarter. That means that an increase from one fire per quarter to two per quarter represents an increase of 100%. In order to avoid misinterpretation of these numbers and provide a meaningful comparison to industry data, Tesla will publish an update to vehicle fire data annually.
From 2012 – 2018, there has been approximately one Tesla vehicle fire for every 170 million miles traveled. By comparison, data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and U.S. Department of Transportation shows that in the United States there is a vehicle fire for every 19 million miles traveled.
In order to provide an apt comparison to NFPA data, Tesla’s data set includes instances of vehicle fires caused by structure fires, arson, and other things unrelated to the vehicle, which account for about 15% of Tesla vehicle fires over this time period.