Tesla often refers to its vehicles as the safest ones ever built. That said, it would be natural to find them in any safest list, but we found none in IIHS’s latest. Made with Consumer Reports to define the best options of used cars for teen drivers, it only presents combustion-engined names and no Tesla or electric vehicles. The explanation is probably in the fine print.
Consumer Reports and IIHS made two used car lists: one for the best choices and the other for good picks. Both of them had a $20,000 limit. Here, it is pretty clear the problem was pricing: there’s no Tesla under $20,000, even older 2013 Model S units.
The new car list had a $40,000 limit in which a Tesla Model 3 would fit despite the recent price increases (if you ignore destination charges). Yet, IIHS and Consumer Reports said the list does not recommend “vehicles with excessive horsepower.” The reason is that these cars could “tempt teens to test the limits and put themselves in high-risk situations.” Tesla vehicles check this box.
Another element that may have played a role in excluding not only Teslas but also other electric vehicles from the list is that “the biggest, heaviest vehicles” were excluded from the list. Big battery packs make electric cars much heavier than similar vehicles. According to the press release, heavy vehicles “can be hard to handle and often have increased braking distances.”
The Nissan Leaf can be a very affordable vehicle. However, the range loss they are suffering and the pricey battery pack replacements can play a role in leaving it out of the options. The Chevy Bolt EV and the Hyundai Kona Electric could also be good options, but the recent fire episodes may have made IIHS, and Consumer Reports prefer not to include them. We’ll contact them to understand why no EV made the cut for the list.