auto crash test

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was the first independent organization to test the Model 3 in August of 2018.

It was the first time that consumers had a chance to see how well the Model 3 protected its passengers under industry standard crash scenarios. The NHTSA’s frontal crash tests passenger protection from a head-on collision with either another vehicle or with a barrier like a brick wall. The vehicle crashes into a fixed barrier at 35 miles per hour with an average-sized male dummy in the driver’s seat and a small-sized female dummy in the front passenger seat.
Underbody cladding is removed so cameras located underneath the test vehicle can record the behavior of the front crumple zone as well as the rear assembly. This angle showed how the battery pack was protected along with the passenger compartment.

This test is where we get our first look at the Model 3’s unique passenger airbag, specifically designed to keep the passenger from striking not only the dash but also the center screen the interior of the Model 3 is known for. All four doors remained closed during impact and were even operable after impact. The windshield remained fully retained with no intrusion into the protected zone during impact. Driver and passenger front airbags deployed. The driver knee airbag deployed. According to sensors and impact marks, the dummies were fully protected from injury by the front and knee airbags. The NHTSA side barrier crash tests passenger protection from a t-bone collision that might happen at a four-way intersection.

A moving barrier that weighs 3015 pounds collides centered with the doors of the vehicle being tested at 38.5 miles per hour. An average-sized male dummy is in a driver seat with a small-sized female dummy in the rear passenger seat behind the driver. During impact, the doors remained shut with no separation at the hinges or latches. The side curtain and side torso airbags on the driver seat deployed. The pre-tensioners deployed on the driver and passenger seat belts. The load limiter deployed on the driver seat belt but not on the passenger seat belt. Forces measured on the head, spine, pelvis, and ribs of the dummies were well below threshold values.

The NHTSA side pole crash tests passenger protection when sliding sideways into a tall rigid pole like a standard utility pole. The test vehicle is pulled sideways at 20 miles per hour into a 25-centimeter diameter pole centered on a driver’s seating position. The test vehicle is angled at 75 degrees with a small-sized adult female dummy in the driver seat. Once again, during impact the doors remain shut with no separation at the hinges or latches.
The front door was jammed shut. Both the side curtain airbag and the side torso airbags on the driver seat deployed. The seatbelt pretensioners and load limiter deployed on the driver seat. Forces measured on the head, spine, pelvis, and ribs were well below threshold values. The NHTSA also tested the Model 3’s propensity to rollover in a single vehicle loss of control scenario, according to their website, though they did not release footage from this test because it’s an at rest laboratory measurement. The model 3 scored a 6.60% rollover risk, which is lower than any other vehicle tested by the NHTSA except the heavier Tesla Model S. Euro NCAP, which stands for the European New Car Assessment Program, was the second to test the model three nearly a year later in July of 2019. The frontal offset crash tests passenger protection in a common scenario where two vehicles crash head-on but not directly. The test vehicle is offset 10% of its total body width from its centerline, impacting a fixed barrier in front of the driver at 40 miles per hour. The Model 3 scored maximum points by protecting all four dummies, showing that a similar level of protection will be provided to passengers of various sizes and seating positions.

Euro NCAP also performs a full-width frontal impact test at a static barrier, with the test vehicle traveling 50 km/h. This simulates a head-on collision where both vehicles impact directly or a collision with a fixed barrier such as a concrete highway divider. One 57-kilogram dummy is placed in the driver seat and another in the rear passenger seat on the opposite side. According to the published report, all body areas were well protected for both dummies except for the chest of the rear passenger, protection of which was adequate. The side barrier crash tests passenger protection when being t boned. The test vehicle is static while the moving barrier impacts the doors at 50 km/h. The Tesla Model 3 scored maximum points on this test, protecting all critical body areas of the dummies. The oblique side pole crash tests passenger protection when sliding into a tall rigid pole like a utility pole. According to the published results, dummy readings of rib compression indicated marginal protection of the chest, with all critical areas well protected.

Both front and rear seats were found to provide good protection against whiplash and related injuries in a rear-end collision. Pedestrian impact tests showed good protection for the legs and pelvis of an impacted pedestrian. Euro NCAP also tests active accident avoidance systems like automated emergency braking. The Model 3 automatically avoided collision in both the static and moving vehicle tests. It also avoided pedestrians in several scenarios as well as cyclist day and night. Testing the Model 3’s Lane Keep Assist showed the system capable of preventing unintentional crossing of lane lines both when faced with an oncoming car as well as when being overtaken by a car in the adjacent lane. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety finally tested the model three in August of 2019. Out of all their tests, the small overlap front crash test is what the IIHS is known for. In this test, the test vehicle impacts of five-foot-tall rigid barrier at 40 miles per hour with only 25% of its total width. This means that most of the vehicle’s crumple zone is missed by the impact with forces instead being absorbed by the wheel and suspension on that side.

Vehicles that do well in this test use strong bracing in the wheel well and firewall to redirect the passenger compartment around the point of impact instead of trying to absorb it all directly. This is exactly what you see with the Model 3 on this test. Its design directs the vehicle around the point of impact, protecting the passenger compartment from significant intrusion. Though there was a slight buckling of the door sill and moderate intrusion in the lower part of the door hinge, the passenger compartment was well-maintained.

Forces on the head, neck, chest, and pelvis were rated good, while the lower leg forces were rated acceptable. The moderate overlap front crash test mimics that done by Euro NCAP with a test vehicle striking a rigid barrier offset 10% off at centerline at 40 miles per hour. The IIHS only place a single average-sized male dummy in the vehicle, sitting in the driver seat. As expected, the Model 3 performed exceptionally on this test with dummy measurements all rated good with great preservation of the passenger compartment.

The side crash test likewise mimics that done by Euro NCAP, though in this case a 3,300-pound SUV-like barrier is used to strike the driver’s side of the vehicle at 50 km/h. Small female dummies are placed in the driver seat and the rear seat behind the driver. Even with the greater frontal area of this impact, the Model 3 still protected its passengers with good ratings on all dummy measurements. Both driver and rear passenger the airbags also protected the dummy’s heads from being hit by hard structures or outside objects.

The IIHS also released footage of its roof crush test of the Model 3, showing how it’s beefy roof structure and laminated glass roof panels prevent deformation of the passenger compartment up to a force equivalent to 5.8 times the weight of the Model 3. That’s one of the highest scores achieved by any car on this test. The seat and headrest tests simulate a stationary car being rear-ended by a car traveling at 20 miles per hour. The front and rear seat and headrests earned good ratings on all areas evaluated. Lastly, the IIHS tests automated emergency braking at 12 and 25 miles per hour, with the Model 3 avoiding a collision in both tests. If you’re looking to get the safety of a Tesla Model 3 for yourself, be sure to use my referral link to get free Supercharging.

Full details about the Tesla owner referral program can be found at the link. I really appreciate you watching The Tech of Tech, and I hope to see you next time.

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