Tesla Model 3 Initial Crash Test Results Released By IIHS


Not all data has been released yet, but what little info has been made available is positive thus far.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is currently conducting crash and safety testing on the Tesla Model 3.

Real World Test – Tesla Model 3 Collides Head On With A Big Pole

So far, two results have been filled in – front crash prevention and headlights.

We’ve added all available information from the IHHS directly below, but the takeaway is that the Model 3 is rated “superior” in front crash prevention and scores an A for headlights.

Low beams

On the straightaway, visibility was good on the left side of the road and inadequate on the right side. On curves, visibility was fair in all 4 tests.

The low beams created some glare.

High beams

On the straightaway, visibility was good on the right side of the road and fair on the left side. On curves, visibility was good on the gradual right curve and fair on the sharp right and both left curves.

High-beam assist compensates for some limitations of this vehicle’s low beams on the straightaway and all 4 curves.

See the IIHS website for test parameters

Categories: Crashed EVs, Tesla

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46 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Initial Crash Test Results Released By IIHS"

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It’s a shame one can’t get good headlights on most cars even with money.

It is indeed strange that even most “premium” cars are getting a down-check for headlight illumination. Are auto makers (or LED bulb makers) unable to design an LED headlight spread that’s good for an automobile, or has IIHS set the standards too high?

Seems strange to me that there seems to be a systemic problem across the entire industry, when using LED headlights. 🙁

I didn’t realise that the IIHS focused on headlights that much. The main European testing NCAP does not consider headlights at all, but does look at crash safety of pedestrians and cyclists, which the IIHS seems to ignore. At least, no EV with the battery under the floor will ever fail Sweden’s ‘Moose avoidance test’, which caused the first Mercedes A-Class to roll over in the late ’90s.

Most luxury cars get knocked for excessive glares, not for bad illumination..

I am split on glares. Sure, glares for upcoming drivers can be an issues. But ultimately it is about how well the car lite up the roads..

With only Acceptable headlights that thing wont even earn the top safety pick + award like the Bolt did. The Model S didn’t even earn the standard top safety pick award

The Model S was designed before the headlight and small overlap tests were devised. The Leaf had the same problem.

Dude they tested the 2016 Model

Actually the Model S was tested twice, the second time after seatbelt modifications, and in the second test the structure in the footwell preformed worse, and the head still hit the steering wheel. Musk then said the IIHS is biased… haha!

You do realize that the Model S was designed in 2010-2011, right?

That is a bad excuses. You don’t design the car for crash test rating (unless you are one of those automakers such as Toyota that design cars to “pass tests”). You design cars to be safe like Volvo.

That excuse got completely killed off when a 12 years old Volvo design passed the IIHS small overlap crash with flying colors…

Bolt EV headlights had “Excessive glare” so its headlights are rated “Poor” (as is the case with all headlights with “Excessive glare”).

Volt headlights are rated “Good” after the auto high beam credit.

Top Safety Pick+ and Top Safety Pick criteria here: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings

Model S was only rated “Acceptable” in the small overlap crash test and did not qualify for either.

I can verify the bolt headlights are obnoxious. I continually get flashed even on low beam. I use the auto function just so people can see them change.

Humm, I didn’t think the BOLT ev headlights were so bad: Certainly much better than the HORRID lights my 2011 VOLT had (that car had the WORST headlights – even worse than my 1964 VW Beetle which had a ‘low voltage’ (around 5 1/2 rather than 6 volts) problem. I just can’t believe the “S” had worse than the VOLT, since the VOLT’s are so gawd-awful that my 2012 had aftermarket LED’s – not to save battery, but to actually SEE at night.

But the car that BY FAR had the Absolute BEST headlights was my Tesla Roadster. 240 Incandescent watts of light when on high-beams.

Tesla strongly suggested I do the $3000 retrofit to make them LED’s. I said’ this car has the best headlights I’ve ever had in my life, No way are you touching them!’, hehe.

The Bolt doesn’t have a safety + rating. The Chevy Volt does. Also according to the web site, to get a + rating the car has to have an acceptable or good headlight rating.

Nope, for + good headlight rating needed

To qualify for 2018 TOP SAFETY PICK, a vehicle must earn good ratings in the driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. It also must earn an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention and an acceptable or good headlight rating.

To qualify for 2018 TOP SAFETY PICK+, a vehicle must earn good ratings in the driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests, as well as an acceptable or good rating in the passenger-side small overlap front test. It also must earn an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention and a good headlight rating.


Bolt also doesn’t have AEB standard. It is only offered as an option in the top trim level, and then only if you buy two more optional packages on top of getting the top trim level. And then you only get “slow speed AEB” which doesn’t even turn on at highways speeds.

“And then you only get “slow speed AEB” which doesn’t even turn on at highways speeds.”

Sure, it doesn’t. But looking at the Utah Model S crash, just because it turns on at hwy speed, it doesn’t mean it works…

I would rather have a system that claims only work at low speed than having a system that claims to work at high speed but doesn’t in some situations.

I would rather have a system that is active at high speed and works whatever percent of the time it works when I need it most to save my life at high speed, than a system that works zero percent of the time at high speed because it isn’t even on.

It is the same standard I put on seat belts and air bags. I want them to save my life as often as they can, knowing they can’t save my life 100% of the time, compared to not having seat belts and air bags and having zero protection.

Do you really think nothing is worse protection than even a system that isn’t 100% perfect? Do you really think you are making a logical argument?

Tesla to stop production for 6 days at the end of May for the Model 3, to update the line.

This will probably help with keeping the 200k held off till the next quarter.
It’s the Grohmann engineering line, getting set up.

The major change is at Fremont during this shutdown, they are changing the structure in 2 stations in the final assembly line which requires remounting all the tracks and hardware. Its a lot of cutting , welding, and fabrication… Don’t even ask me how I know that!

This testing – the headlights, mostly – is more detailed than what I had imagined. Partly motivated by the auto insurers’ bottom line, no doubt, but it feels like IIHS staff also make the daily effort partly in the name of lessening fellow human’s injuries and worse on the highways.

Just a subjective opinion, by my Model 3 headlights are fricken bright. I’ve never owned/driven a car that has this much illumination. I’m guessing it’s because I’m not used to LED headlights. I did notice the left side shined a tiny bit further than the right. Not sure if this is just an adjustment needed or its factory set this way on purpose.

One suggestion I have for Tesla is to have the headlights default back to low beams after parking/exiting. I had played with the headlights the night before and left the hi-beams on. The next day I was driving and blinding people. Someone gave me a double-flash to let me know.

A Model X drove behind me the other night with the high beams on. Informed the driver at the stoplight, but he said “IS ON AUTO!” and drove away.

Who knows maybe they were on high and they simply had nothing better to say.

How do you know they were on high beam?

The beam pattern blasted everything in front of it, rather than being cut-off above a certain point. Also, the light source was closer to the middle of the car; the low beams are located closer to the sides of the car.

Sounds like a jerk. It really must be true that Tesla is stealing sales from BMW and Audi…. LOL!!!!

all expensive and fast cars come with some jerks as standard feature…. Tesla is no exception in that aspect.

Did the LOL not tip you off that I was making a joke?

Woah! Congrats on the 3. I am really interested in your thoughts on the car. Care to post review/impressions on the forum?

I haven’t been on much recently (3 week old baby). I got my invite a few weeks ago, but haven’t configured. Going to wait for AWD details and white seats to decide when to pull the trigger.

Likely order July/August after getting life back into a routine with the new one.

I’ll have to get into the forums more. I made some comparisons to my Volt at GM-Volt . com but should probably consolidate my thoughts/impressions.

Sorry, but if the M3 has autobrake, why did it just hit a firetruck????

The test is at 25mph. That car was at 60mph. AEB is mainly for city driving currently.

Tesla has high speed/inter urban AEB that is supposed to work at speeds up to 85mph. The thing is it doesn’t “see” stationary objects (Mercedes system does). Even when it does work with moving slower traffic Tesla manual states it disingages after reducing speed by 25mph so it won’t bring the car to a full stop at higher speeds.

“doesn’t see stationary objects” fascinating, and breaks the rules of physics and relativity. How does the car know the difference between it heading for a firetruck at 60mph and a firetruck backing into it at 60mph?

This is complete nonsense. It was repeated by the Wall St. Journal, so its official nonsense.

Far more reasonable, and I have actually tested this, is that the adaptive cruise algorithm rejects closing velocities that are greater than a certain speed.

Wait for EuroNCAP crashtesting the Model 3.
They test AEB at up to 70km/h (44mph) and also in the dark.
Here is a test of the Nissan Leaf, AEB testing starts 2:05min: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVeSCjgACiA

Good info. I will be sure not to have any accidents over 25 MPH.

Then isn’t it a false advertising to claim that it is a high speed AEB?

Because Tesla’s automatic braking system, just like those from other auto makers, relies on Doppler radar, which does not detect stationary obstacles.

“Doppler radars operate by transmitting a fixed frequency and looking for a change in that frequency caused by a moving object. If the object is not moving there will be no frequency change, and the object will not be detected.”

It would be advisable for people to learn how these systems work, and what their limitations are, if they are going to trust their lives to such systems!


Mercedes’ system can detect and stop for stationary objects at speeds up to 62mph and at higher speeds it slows down to minimise the impact even if it can’t avoid it.


Other automakers have similar capability (not to fully avoid but to at least slow down, even at high speeds)

Other manufacturers manage to do this at higher speeds. Don’t make excuses for manufacturers with inferior technology.

1. Doppler radar does not know the difference between if the object it is mounted on is moving TOWARDS an object or that another object is moving TOWARDS it. This was covered in the theory of relativity.
2. You are an idiot. It is not getting better as you keep repeating this nonsense.

When will EuroNCAP crash test Model 3? “High-Speed autobrake” at 25mph is a joke in 2018.
EuroNCAP test AEB at up to 70km/h (44mph) and also in the dark. It’s much better testing than testing 12mph and 25mph.
Here is a EuroNCAP test of the Nissan Leaf, AEB testing starts 2:05min: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVeSCjgACiA

LOL … SO WRONG !!!!!
New tests of automatic braking systems found a worrying flaw — and 2 Tesla models did the worst … proven by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety!!