Musk Re-Ranks Tesla Safety Based On Weight: X, S, 3

OCT 11 2018 BY MARK KANE 12

Model 3 may have ranked as the safest, but it’s better to be in a Model X.

Tesla Model 3 has the lowest overall probability of injury for any car ever tested by NHTSA, ahead of the Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X. However, having five stars in every category doesn’t really tell the whole story.

Elon Musk noted in one of his most recent tweets that we need to take the weight of the vehicle into account to be able to truly find the safest cars in the case of crashes.

The higher weight likely changes the ultimate ranking of the lowest probability of injury, so the Model X checks in slightly better than the Model S and Model 3 is third (but “they are all very close”), says Musk.

The reason for that is because a vehicle that weighs more has higher potential energy than lighter vehicle at a similar speed and the difference will impact the lighter car. Just simple physics…really. Here is an example of an elastic collision that of course doesn’t apply to non-elastic cars, but be aware that your chances of walking away without injury go down as the weight of the vehicle you collide with goes up.

Elastic collision of unequal masses (Source: Wikipedia)

Model 3 achieves the lowest probability of injury of any vehicle ever tested by NHTSA

Categories: Crashed EVs, Tesla

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12 Comments on "Musk Re-Ranks Tesla Safety Based On Weight: X, S, 3"

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Alex

I think heavier cars are more dangerous to others and that should be taken into consideration also, not just the extra protection they might provide in case of a crash. Some studies show a big increase in deaths and injuries as weight of cars increase.
So overall, probably the model 3 is indeed the best.

Sri

Exactly. But everyone is more concerned about their own safety first. So it only triggers an arms race in weight

Stimpacker

Someone must have told him not to torpedo sales of the higher margined Model S and X.

Empire State

Elastic collision visuals are closer to junk science for this story than they are close to clarification and summary.

antrik

The remark about potential energy is worse…

(It’s true, but meaningless.)

deine Mutter

The thing I’m most afraid of is crashing into a tree. They are immovable objects. The heavier your car is the more severe the outcome.

Andy

Multi car collisions are more frequent and bigger vehicles have a statistically lower death rate per collision and mile. Large SUV’s are just about the safest vehicle on the road for occupants, and small cars are the least safe.

deine Mutter

The type of accident that is most likely depends on where you live or rather drive.

antrik

It’s only more severe for the tree… For the occupants, the mass of the vehicle doesn’t matter. (Assuming of course that the structure of the car is properly designed to account for the difference in mass…) Deceleration rate when hitting a rigid barrier depends only on the effective size of the crumple zone.

ModernMarvelFan

LOL. Love it. A day later, Elon came out and agree with me on this claim. All those fanbois idiots who thumbed me down when I bought this up yesterday can crawl back to their holes now.

JoeS.

How do the ‘safety’ statistics deal with the countless accidents I’ve AVOIDED in my lifetime by being able to throw my small nimble ‘lighter’ cars around? How about the accidents in recent years that could have been AVOIDED but weren’t because of the massive A-pillar intrusion into the driver’s field of view?

Bla blubb

Great, so we will all be killed at the traffic light by a model X in autopilot while the driver will not even feel the impact. Looking forward to it. The physics check out, but it is a screwed up way to look at the world. ‚Me first!!!…‘