Tesla Model S After IIHS Small Overlap test

Tesla Model S After IIHS Small Overlap test

Despite all the "world's safest vehicle" boasting put forth by Tesla CEO Elon Musk in the past, the refreshed Tesla Model S fell short this year of receiving the top crash test rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The BMW i3 was tested by the IIHS too and it failed to receive top honors as well.

As Associated Press explains:

"The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested 2017 models of both vehicles. Neither earned the institute's "Top Safety Pick" award, which is given to vehicles that get the highest rating in five different crash tests and offer a crash-prevention system with automatic braking. To get a highest "Top Safety Pick-Plus" designation, vehicles must meet all of those criteria and have good headlights."

For Model year 2017, 38 vehicles have so far received the coveted "Top Safety Pick-Plus" designation. Among those 38 are the Chevrolet Volt (see test results here) and Toyota Prius Prime. To date, no pure electric vehicle has received the IIHS' top rating though. Here's a look at the scores for the 4 plug-ins mentioned above:

IIHS Results For 4 Plug-In Vehicles

IIHS Results For 4 Plug-In Vehicles

For the front overlap crash, the IIHS stated that the safety belt in the Model S allowed the test dummy's torso to move too far forward, allowing the test dummy's head hit the steering wheel, despite airbag.

Tesla says it made a production change to the Model S just this past month to improve its "small overlap front" rating, and the IIHS says it will re-test the S again soon.

With that said the Model S is unlikely to regain a perfect score, as the all-electric car also received a "poor" rating for its new headlights, and the new P100D individually got a lower ranking for roof strength as the battery is heavy enough that the roof might not hold up as well as other models during a rollover crash.  The safety institute has yet to administer a roof-strength test on the P100D however.

 

"Neither of these (potential injuries) were so high that we would expect life threatening injuries, but they are too high in our opinion to get "Good" ratings for those body regions," said Dave Zuby with IIHS via CNBC

BMW i3 IIHS Small Overlap Test

BMW i3 IIHS Small Overlap Test

Meanwhile, the BMW i3 fared a bit better overall than the Model S. In fact, the carbon fiber/plastic car aced all of the crash tests, but fell a bit short in head restraints & seats and headlight performance too.

Below are several videos from the IIHS crash tests of both the BMW i3 and the Tesla Model S.

Source: IIHS, Associated Press, CNBC