Tesla Model S Misses Top Safety Pick+ In Latest Crash Test (w/video)

4 months ago by Sebastian Blanco 74

Tesla Model S IIHS crash test

The Tesla Model S has come under some scrutiny lately from the IIHS for its crash test results.

In February, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said the electric vehicle only scored an “acceptable” rating because the seat belt let the dummy move too much in the small overlap test. Despite changes, when IIHS re-tested the Model S recently, the same problem happened, and so the “acceptable” rating remains on that front.

Video description:

2017 Tesla Model S (models built after January 2017) 40 mph small overlap IIHS crash test

Overall evaluation: Acceptable

IIHS crashed two Model S vehicles and scored how they protected the battery pack. In two words: not great.  In more words (from the IIHS release):

Although the two tested vehicles had identical structure, the second test resulted in greater intrusion into the driver’s space because the left front wheel movement wasn’t consistent. Maximum intrusion increased from less than 2 inches to 11 inches in the lower part and to 5 inches at the instrument panel in the second test. The first test resulted in a good rating for structural integrity, while the second test resulted in an acceptable structural rating. The two tests’ structural ratings were combined, resulting in acceptable structure and an acceptable rating overall for the Model S.

The greater deformation in the second test also resulted in damage to the left front corner of the battery case. The deformation was limited to an area that didn’t contain battery cells in the tested vehicle, so this damage didn’t affect the rating. Higher-performance variants of the Model S could have battery cells in this area, but, according to Tesla, they also have different structure. They haven’t been tested separately and aren’t covered by this rating.

Crashed Tesla Model S

When the Model S failed to get the top score in the IIHS test last time, Tesla said it would fix the problem and expected to be named a Top Safety Pick+. Despite the fact that that didn’t happen, the company said in a statement to InsideEVs that the Model S, “received the highest rating in IIHS’s crash testing in every category except for one, the small overlap front crash test, where it received the second highest rating available.” Tesla also said that it considered the U.S. government to be “the most objective and accurate” body to independently test a vehicle’s safety, and it found that the Model S and the Model X were,” the two cars with the lowest probability of injury of any cars that it has ever tested, making them the safest cars in history.” You can read Tesla’s full statement below.

All of these new results were part of a broader set of IIHS tests of larger sedans. While the EV (and the Ford Taurus and the Chevrolet Impala) didn’t do well, the Lincoln Continental, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and the Toyota Avalon all got the coveted Top Safety Pick+ designation, the highest possible score. The Continental’s result is particularly impressive, since this is an all-new vehicle that aced this test on the first try.

IIHS large sedan crash test rating

Press Release:

Three large cars join ranks of IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+ winners

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Lincoln Continental, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the Toyota Avalon come out at the top of a group of six large cars recently evaluated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The three cars qualify for TOP SAFETY PICK+, the Institute’s highest award. The Tesla Model S, the Chevrolet Impala and the Ford Taurus fall short of any award because they each earn only an acceptable rating in the small overlap front test.

“This group of large cars includes some with stellar ratings, but our small overlap front test remains a hurdle for some vehicles,” says David Zuby, IIHS executive vice president and chief research officer.

Vehicles qualify for either the TOP SAFETY PICK or TOP SAFETY PICK+ award if they have good ratings from IIHS in five crashworthiness tests — small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints — and an available front crash prevention system that earns a superior or advanced rating. To qualify for TOP SAFETY PICK+, a vehicle also must come with good or acceptable headlights.

The 2017 Continental is an all-new vehicle with a revived model name. It replaces the Lincoln MKS. The Continental’s optional front crash prevention system earns a superior rating. When equipped with the system, the car avoided collisions in IIHS track tests at 12 mph and 25 mph. The system also has a forward collision warning component that meets National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) criteria.

The Continental’s LED projector headlights, an option on the Reserve trim line, earn a good rating, providing ample lighting on a straightaway and most kinds of curves. They can be obtained with high-beam assist, a feature that automatically switches between high beams and low beams, depending on the presence of other vehicles. However, the vehicle is also available with high-intensity discharge (HID) lights that earn a poor rating.

The E-Class was completely redesigned for 2017. It has two different front crash prevention systems, one standard and the other optional. Both earn superior ratings, avoiding collisions in the track tests at both speeds and earning credit for forward collision warning that meets NHTSA criteria.The E-Class is available with two different headlight systems. One earns a good rating, while the other is acceptable. The good-rated headlights, which come on the E-300 trim when equipped with the Premium II or Premium III package, earn the highest score of any headlights IIHS has rated. The low beams provide enough light on the straightaway and all curves, though they create a bit of glare for oncoming drivers. The high beams provide fair visibility on the left side of the straightaway but good visibility everywhere else. The good-rated headlights also come with high-beam assist.

The Avalon also joins the ranks of the TOP SAFETY PICK+ winners. The car was previously recognized as a TOP SAFETY PICK winner. It fell short of the highest award because it had only marginal and poor headlights available. Toyota improved the aim of the headlights on Avalons built after March. As a result, the Limited and Hybrid Limited trim lines now come with acceptable-rated headlights. Other trims have marginal headlights, but none are poor anymore.

Toyota wasn’t the only company to try to boost its car’s standing with midyear improvements. The Tesla Model S initially had earned an acceptable rating in the small overlap test, which represents the type of crash that occurs when the front driver-side corner of a vehicle hits a tree or utility pole or collides with another vehicle. The main problem with the performance of the Model S was that the safety belt let the dummy’s torso move too far forward, allowing the dummy’s head to strike the steering wheel hard through the airbag.

Tesla made changes to the safety belt in vehicles built after January with the intent of reducing the dummy’s forward movement. However, when IIHS tested the modified Model S, the same problem occurred, and the rating didn’t change.

Although the two tested vehicles had identical structure, the second test resulted in greater intrusion into the driver’s space because the left front wheel movement wasn’t consistent. Maximum intrusion increased from less than 2 inches to 11 inches in the lower part and to 5 inches at the instrument panel in the second test. The first test resulted in a good rating for structural integrity, while the second test resulted in an acceptable structural rating. The two tests’ structural ratings were combined, resulting in acceptable structure and an acceptable rating overall for the Model S.

The greater deformation in the second test also resulted in damage to the left front corner of the battery case. The deformation was limited to an area that didn’t contain battery cells in the tested vehicle, so this damage didn’t affect the rating. Higher-performance variants of the Model S could have battery cells in this area, but, according to Tesla, they also have different structure. They haven’t been tested separately and aren’t covered by this rating.

The Model S is only available with headlights that earn a poor rating and hasn’t been rated yet for front crash prevention. While automatic braking comes standard, the software for the feature was only recently activated.
Before this round of testing, the Chevrolet Impala hadn’t been put through all the Institute’s evaluations since it was redesigned in 2014, and it has never been rated for small overlap protection. The 2017 model earns an acceptable rating for small overlap protection and good ratings in the other crashworthiness tests.

In the small overlap crash, the Impala’s structure held up reasonably well, with maximum intrusion of 4 inches at the lower door-hinge pillar. The dummy’s head hit the front airbag, but then slid off the left side, leaving the head partially unprotected. Measures taken from the dummy indicated a low risk of any significant injuries.

The Impala’s optional front crash prevention system earns a superior rating. It avoided a crash in the 12 mph test, while its impact speed was reduced by an average of 10 mph in the 25 mph test. The system meets the NHTSA criteria for forward collision warning.

All the available headlights on the Impala earn a poor rating.

The Taurus is another vehicle that hadn’t been tested previously for small overlap protection. Maximum intrusion reached 5 inches at the lower door-hinge pillar. In contrast to the Impala’s test, the dummy’s movement in the Taurus was well-controlled. However, measures from the dummy indicate that injuries to the left lower leg would be possible in a crash of this severity. The Taurus earns good ratings in the other crashworthiness tests.

For front crash prevention, the Taurus has a basic rating. It has forward collision warning that meets NHTSA criteria but lacks automatic braking.

All the available headlights for the Taurus are rated poor.

Tesla issued a statement to the new results:

Tesla’s Model S received the highest rating in IIHS’s crash testing in every category except for one, the small overlap front crash test, where it received the second highest rating available. While IIHS and dozens of other private industry groups around the world have methods and motivations that suit their own subjective purposes, the most objective and accurate independent testing of vehicle safety is currently done by the U.S. Government, which found Model S and Model X to be the two cars with the lowest probability of injury of any cars that it has ever tested, making them the safest cars in history.

The average rate for insuring a Model S or Model X is about 5% lower than other premium vehicles, with some insurance providers charging 20% or 30% lower premiums than comparable cars. Indeed, Tesla guarantees that there will always be an insurance provider that will charge less for a Model S or X than any other car with a similar driver, price and vehicle category.

Source: IIHS, Tesla

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74 responses to "Tesla Model S Misses Top Safety Pick+ In Latest Crash Test (w/video)"

  1. DJ says:

    Must be a conspiracy…

    1. floydboy says:

      Why?

      1. kubel says:

        Tesla’s response is tin foil hat like. Funny they were quick to embrace the initial safety test results, but now claim IIHS is biased when they don’t get perfect results.

        “While IIHS and dozens of other private industry groups around the world have methods and motivations that suit their own subjective purposes…”

        IIHS’s subjective purpose is to keep people safe, because injuries cost underwriters money, and safe cars keep people safe.

        Tesla needs to stop complaining and work more on safety. This is shameful.

        1. unlucky says:

          Their statement is shameful, reflexive and situationally convenient. And it won’t last forever either. Eventually they will fail to get a top mark on a NHTSA test too. Then what?

          And I wonder how saying only the US Government knows what it is doing vis-a-vis safety plays in the rest of the world? In Europe?

          1. FISHEV says:

            We’ll Tesla didn’t say THAT just that Tesla thought NHSTA was the best which it is not. IIHS is the gold standard on crash and safety standard. NHSTA doesn’t even have the small overlap test even though that, not full frontal crashes, are the most common headon collision.

        2. zzzzzzzzzz says:

          Their auditory is tin foil hat people, so they just speak what is expected :/

        3. FISHEV says:

          Exactly. Sheesh…man up Elon….”We are sorry we missed the small overlap test we are working on it”

          Saying stuff like:

          “Tesla also said that it considered the U.S. government to be “the most objective and accurate” body to independently test a vehicle’s safety, and it found that the Model S and the Model X were,” the two cars with the lowest probability of injury of any cars that it has ever tested, making them the safest cars in history.”

          NHSTA is it the most accurate and the S and X are demonstrably not the safety cars in history. Good grief he sounds like Trump.

  2. unlucky says:

    Interesting they said they tested a lower-performance model, one without cells in an area of the pack. That implies they tested a 60/70/75. And it’s good that Tesla would leave out the cells at the front of the pack where impacts are more likely to occur.

    But can I really apply these test results to a 90/100? Those would have cells in that area and Tesla says they may have a different pack structure. Both of those seem to imply that the 90/100 pack is heavier. If a 90/100 then any test which involves the vehicle moving and trying to dissipate the energy of its own motion could actually get worse.

    Does anyone know if is normal for the IIHS to test a lighter version of a vehicle and extend the ratings to cover a heavier version without checking those?

    1. Devin Serpa says:

      I don’t believe they’ve would “extend” (extrapolated) a safety rating for the 90/100, just that those two configurations will receive a “not tested in this configuration” rating.

      1. floydboy says:

        They did do an extrapolation of the P100D models on the roof crush test.

        1. ModernMarvelFan says:

          Because the roof is the same according to Tesla so the heavier weight will affect the ratio of roof strength to the crushing weight.

          The ratio is the mark that determines whether it is good or acceptable or even lower.

    2. sven says:

      unlucky said:
      “Does anyone know if is normal for the IIHS to test a lighter version of a vehicle and extend the ratings to cover a heavier version without checking those?”

      It’s confusing. With regards to the roof strength test for the Tesla Model S 60, the IIHS specifically did not extend the “Good” rating to the Model S P100D. In the IIHS link below, click on the “Roof Strength” button on the middle left of the page for the “Test Details.” It says the tested vehicle is a 2016 Tesla Model S 60 4-door, and it received a “Good” Rating. Then it says “Rating does not apply to Model S P100D. Rating of this model is Acceptable.” Why limit the asterisk/caveat only to the P100D? I dunno. Did the IIHS also test a P100D in addition to a Model S 60? Perhaps.

      A heavier vehicle would change the strength-to-weight calculation for the roof strength test scores. A Tesla with a larger (heavier) battery and/or second motor would need additional reinforcements to strengthen its roof/roof-pillars to achieve the same roof strength rating as a Tesla with a smaller (lighter) battery and/or only one motor.

      1. sven says:

        Link for IIHS rating for the Tesla Model S (click”Roof Strength” button on left):

        http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/tesla/model-s-4-door-hatchback

      2. unlucky says:

        Thanks for the info and links.

      3. Nix says:

        The roof scores can be extrapolated to other models because it is a calculated score in the first place, based on static testing, not kinetic testing.

        The front collision scores cannot be extrapolated because they are not calculated scores based on static testing, they are kinetic scores based on kinetic testing.

  3. Michael S says:

    I watched the IIHS video and the dummy’s head punches straight through the airbag to hit the steering wheel. Shame Tesla wasn’t able to fix this (yet) with the February revisions. Also a shame that subsequent testing found additional interior intrusion in the frontal small overlap test.

    That’s not to say Model S is an unsafe car, but the E-Class slays in every way:

    “Good” headlights instead of “poor” headlights
    Less B-pillar intrusion in a side crash (-23 cm vs. -20.5 cm)
    Greater roof strength (23,517 lbs vs. 19,271 lbs to lower roof 5 inches)

    1. Michael WIll says:

      Good this undergoes more scrutiny to keep the manfucturers honest. B-pillar is similar though, 23cm vs 21 cm is pretty much a 2/3 foot.

  4. Will says:

    “Although the two tested vehicles had identical structure, the second test resulted in greater intrusion into the driver’s space because the left front wheel movement wasn’t consistent. Maximum intrusion increased from less than 2 inches to 11 inches in the lower part and to 5 inches at the instrument panel in the second test.”

    What would account for two vehicles with “identical structure” getting such different results (from <2 inches max intrusion to 11 inches). That seems like quite a big difference. I cannot think of a way that would happen without differences in construction, or test parameters.

    Anyone have any insight?

    1. bro1999 says:

      The Tesla with more intrusion was built at the end of a quarter?

      1. Nick says:

        Why would that matter?

        I thought the frames and structure we’re all built by robots. Should not matter when they are built in that case.

        1. Terawatt says:

          > we’re all built by robots.

          It’s hard to take you seriously.

          1. Nick says:

            Sorry, auto correct / swipe in action. 🙂

            Typing comments on a tiny phone keyboard can be rough sometimes.

            I was trying to say that since the cars are welded by robots, they should be very consistent. I guess my comments are read by robots as well. 😀

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Will asked:

      “What would account for two vehicles with ‘identical structure’ getting such different results (from <2 inches max intrusion to 11 inches). That seems like quite a big difference. I cannot think of a way that would happen without differences in construction, or test parameters.

      "Anyone have any insight?"

      It happens a lot in real life. It's called "the Butterfly Effect": In complex systems, small differences in initial conditions may yield widely diverging outcomes. More generally, the subject is called "Chaos Theory".

      In this case, perhaps the precise impact point varied by as much as 1/8 or 1/4 of an inch between the two crash tests?

      But keep in mind we're only talking about the small overlap crash test, where the entire force of the collision is concentrated on a very small part of the car, so most of the crumple zone isn't engaged at all.

      * * * * *

      While I don't doubt the importance of such crash tests, because small overlap crashes represent a surprisingly high percentage of fatal accidents, at the same time I question the utility of including such testing in safety ratings. What kind of vehicle could withstand the entire force of collision being concentrated on such a small area of the vehicle? After all, we cannot expect ordinary cars to be literally built like armored tanks, despite those Volvo ads. If built to such standards, cars would be far too expensive for the average person to buy, and would use up far more energy or fuel to run them.

      1. Terawatt says:

        Are you really THAT desperate to “protect” Tesla?!? You doubt the utility of including the most relevant crash test in safety ratings? I for one suspect you stated doubting that only now, and whether you’re aware of it or not it’s motivated not by your stated reasons, but by the fact that Tesla didn’t ace the test!

        There are plenty ways to make cars cheaper than they are that don’t involve making them less safe. Less power, especially in ICE, makes the car cheaper, lighter, more efficient and less polluting.

        Of course in a land of morons driving F-150 monsters this might be a tough sell. But people want to pollute is morally equivalent to rapists want to rape, i.e. not a convincing argument.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          “Are you really THAT desperate to ‘protect’ Tesla?!?”

          You really ought to learn to think before posting, Terawatt. You’re just reminding everyone of how immature you are, with such knee-jerk reactions. You aren’t as bad about that as when you first started posting to InsideEVs comment threads, but here you’re reverting to form.

          “You doubt the utility of including the most relevant crash test in safety ratings?”

          Please explain to me why a crash test in which the crumple zone of a car is almost entirely bypassed is “most relevant”. I’d say rather it’s “most irrelevant”.

          The only thing such tests are going to “prove” is the basic physics concept that heavier objects have more kinetic energy, and thus sustain more damage when they hit a solid object. Yes, the Model S is a heavy car, and thus the damage from a small overlap collision should be expected to be greater than other cars which don’t weigh as much. In fact, if anything, I’d say the Model S getting an “acceptable” rating even under such extreme conditions shows the superiority of Tesla’s engineering.

          Of course, for you to realize that reality would require you to actually think about the physics involved… something you clearly either don’t have the patience for, or don’t have sufficient understanding of basic physics for… or both.

          “I for one suspect you stated doubting that only now…

          Well, your record here is perfect: 100% wrong in every respect.

          “…and whether you’re aware of it or not it’s motivated not by your stated reasons, but by the fact that Tesla didn’t ace the test!”

          Your delusion that you can actually read the mind of someone just from what they post… not working for you, dude.

          1. sven ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ says:

            “Are you (Poo-Poo) really THAT desperate to ‘protect’ Tesla?!?”

            Yes, definitely yes. I’m guessing that was a rhetorical question.

            Poo-Poo said:
            “Please explain to me why a crash test in which the crumple zone of a car is almost entirely bypassed is ‘most relevant’. I’d say rather it’s ‘most irrelevant’.”

            The IIHS has previously explained that they implemented the small overlap front crash test, because it reviewed the data from its member insurance companies and small overlap front crashes were resulting in personal injuries that were mostly prevented in moderate overlap and full frontal crash tests after automakers improved their cars to pass these tests. The data showed that small overlap front crashes were resulting in disproportionate amount of payments for personal injuries compared to other types of frontal accidents.

            In other words real world data showed the IIHS that small overlap crash protection is an area that needs improvement.

            In the real world small overlap crashes happen frequently and at high speed when one car on a highway crosses slightly over the double yellow line and both cars impact each other at the driver-side headlight.

            The IIHS expplains it frontal crash tests in the link below. I encourage you to read it and educated yourself.

            http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/ratings-info/frontal-crash-tests

          2. needa says:

            Someone has to come in and balance out the fanboys and apologists. The problem is you try to balance things out in level headed and respectful way, because you are a fan of Tesla, and you get pounced on.

            One can only be nice for so long ya know. So then you start posting comments that are blunt and to the point, without offering room for debate. Those end up getting censored by the site because you know… peeps don’t want the truth. They just want like minds speaking to like minds. Eventually you just come to troll so you can get a laugh.

            1. Mark.ca says:

              Cool monologue, bro! Is there a part 2 to look for?

          3. ModernMarvelFan says:

            “After all, we cannot expect ordinary cars to be literally built like armored tanks, despite those Volvo ads. If built to such standards, cars would be far too expensive for the average person to buy, and would use up far more energy or fuel to run them.”

            1. Tesla isn’t ordinary car. It claims to be the best.
            2. Plenty of other cars ace the test. Volvo do across the board.
            3. Larger SUVs with similar weight also do.
            4. Plenty of EV supports who have very little engineering understanding often claims that EV is superior with extra crumble zone which should help with all type of crashes. Well, sure on the grand scale. But engineering details matter.
            5. No reason that Tesla can’t tweak the car to ace it. Saying that test is unreasonable is just giving excuses.

        2. unlucky says:

          I agree with Pushy and I don’t see it as protecting Tesla.

          I viewed the videos and I think that the issue is that the Tesla doesn’t seem to let the wheel breakaway as well as the other cars. If you can get the wheel to let go then it gets out of the way much more consistently. If it remains attached it can get rammed into the passenger compartment by the wall (really by the mass of the car, but let’s speak simply here) and that hurts the results.

          The difference between the two is the unpredictable movement of the still tethered wheel. It’s a negative to Tesla to not have designed the car to be better at letting the wheel go so it doesn’t work against their safety in some cases.

          I reject Pushy’s last paragraph nearly completely. Tesla isn’t the victim of their cars size or anything here. And it’s not unreasonable to think that cars this size can do well in small overlap. The Mercedes okay.

          Despite all this the Tesla seems like a safe car to me. Even acceptable is quite good. People walk away from so many crashes nowadays that I can’t use the word “unsafe” to apply to one that gets a mere acceptable on one test.

          1. Nix says:

            unlucky — IIHS completely agrees with Pushy that larger cars have a harder time on frontal crash results than smaller/lighter cars:

            “Frontal crash test results can’t be used to compare vehicle performance across weight classes. That’s because the kinetic energy involved in the moderate overlap and small overlap frontal tests depends on the speed and weight of the test vehicle. Thus, the crash is more severe for heavier vehicles.

            Given equivalent frontal ratings, the heavier of two vehicles usually offers better protection in real-world crashes. In 2009, IIHS demonstrated this principle with a series of tests in which small cars were crashed into larger cars, all of which had good frontal ratings in the moderate overlap test.”

            1. unlucky says:

              The Mercedes is also a large car and does better than the Tesla. It is not unreasonable to expect a car of that size to do well on this test.

              If the Tesla scores poorly for its size because of its weight then we probably should be indicating to Tesla that overweight cars matter to us. Then they can understand they should be working to get their weight down as much as possible or else beef up the structure of the car to resist its own weight.

              Look at the small overlap videos. Many cars shear the edge of the nose off and thus turn the remaining structure into a kind of ramp which guides the car away from the wall, giving the car a chance to dissipate energy by coming to a stop more slowly (with the body of the car past the wall). The Tesla does not do this. Instead of apologizing for their results because their car is so heavy, we should be indicating to Tesla that a proper design could allow them to do as well as the other cars in the tests.

              In short, if their car is heavier, they’ll have to put more engineering effort in. This will cost more money, but hey, it’s a very expensive car so people probably expect more investment in designing it already.

              1. Nix says:

                Are you still talking about the E-Class? The Model S tested is 20% heavier than the E-Class tested. Because the Model S has a 20% penalty in this test compared to that E-Class. (formula for Momentum is Mass times Velocity — With velocity fixed, the 20% higher mass means a 20% penalty for the Model S).

                Is your evidence that weight doesn’t matter, is that a lighter car tested better?

                You are actually just proving the opposite, that the lighter car tested better than the heavier car. Just like IIHS says is an absolute fact and reality.

                As you can also see from the IIHS statement, IN THE REAL WORLD, the heavier car will have a higher survival rate than the lighter car. Go back and read the IIHS instructions on how to compare test results between different weights of cars.

                Reducing the weight is silly, just to play to the test. Which do you care about more?

                1) Scoring a “Good” in a lighter car vs. an “Acceptable” in a test that the IIHS states themselves is biased against heavier weight vehicles?

                Or

                2) Being in the vehicle that the IIHS states will be more survivable in the real world due to the larger mass?

                1. Nix says:

                  Unlucky:

                  Please read, view, and fully comprehend this video from IIHS before responding. Unless you understand these test results, you will never understand how your comments about losing weight to be safer are wrong:

                  http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/new-crash-tests-demonstrate-the-influence-of-vehicle-size-and-weight-on-safety-in-crashes-results-are-relevant-to-fuel-economy-policies

                  1. ModernMarvelFan says:

                    Yes, heavier cars need to be stronger to ace those “fixed barrier” crash tests.

                    But plenty of other heavier SUV/Crossovers and Sedans have aced it. If Tesla is claiming or aiming to be the best, then there is no excuses why it can’t achieve it.

      2. Mark.ca says:

        PP, give it a rest man. Thay failed a test out of many…so they will have something to work on and improve. As for the trolls…who cares what they think…most don’t have enough money to buy one anyway.

        1. Nix says:

          Mark — FAILED??? You don’t seem to understand the test rating system. They passed the test with an “acceptable” rating. That is Tesla passing the test.

          They didn’t get straight A’s, but they most certainly didn’t “fail” anything. Between the IIHS and NHTSA crash tests, Tesla got all A’s, and 1 B.

          Only a troll like you would call describe that as “failing”

          1. ModernMarvelFan says:

            I agree.

            People needs to calm down.

            Acceptable rating isn’t failure.

            It is still one of the good rating. IIHS would still allows TSP rating with “acceptable” rating on small overlap crash.

            People doesn’t need to turn it into a failure. It is just that we can’t make the claim that it is the safest ever.

    3. Nix says:

      Will, here is what the IIHS say why the results were different:

      “because the left front wheel movement wasn’t consistent.”

      In other words, the left front wheel itself is part of the crumple zone, and in this collision it behaved differently than in the first collision test.

      This really reflects on the precision of the test results, not the accuracy.

  5. Jim Whitehead says:

    Am I dreaming or does Tesla bad news come in bunches that seems timed to do the least damage to the share price?

    This announcement comes well after the successful annual meeting in June. It coincides the other bad news that Tesla missed their shipping numbers for the second quarter. Given that the founder and other top people are often paid in stock options, I wonder if Tesla is partially managing the news cycle, with precise timing, going or is it just coincidence, or some of both?

    Another possibility is that Tesla is blameless at timing these negative stories. Could the huge number of Tesla bears out there, to include Wall Street reporters, be spinning or timing the news cycle to make quick profits on temporary drops?

    1. bro1999 says:

      Stock has been in a nose dive this week. These crash test results will not help TSLA valuation any.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Jim Whitehead asked:

      “I wonder if Tesla is partially managing the news cycle, with precise timing, going or is it just coincidence, or some of both?”

      Perhaps, Jim, you’re too close to the subject in question. Not to dismiss the very real possibility that stock manipulators have some influence on just when a story “breaks” or how often it’s repeated, but — at the risk of making a pop psych analysis here — perhaps this is a case of Negativity bias. For example, when driving one tends to notice red lights, because they force you to stop and therefore are annoying. Conversely, green lights are likely to pass without being consciously noticed.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negativity_bias

    3. Someone out there says:

      It’s more likely because of the highly overvalued stock so any negative news makes big waves

      1. Mark.ca says:

        It’s pure technical. The initial drop in share price came first and then the downgrades and these results. The stock got overheated as it usually does. Can’t go up forever.

    4. Nix says:

      “Tesla missed their shipping numbers for the second quarter”

      bullpucky. Tesla didn’t “miss” anything. Tesla had a target of between 47,000 and 50,000 cars, and they HIT their target range, delivering 47,100 cars.

      What part of being inside their target range meaning they hit their target range don’t you trolls understand?

  6. bro1999 says:

    Noticed the Model S did not even receive a regular Too Safety pick award, let alone Top Safety +

    1. floydboy says:

      I imagine in this type of crash, the heaviest cars are going to impart the most energy to a solid fixed object. Now, if the crash were between two vehicles, it might be an entirely different story.

    2. Nix says:

      Even the IIHS warns against making that exact comparison between different weight classes of cars.

      “Frontal crash test results can’t be used to compare vehicle performance across weight classes. That’s because the kinetic energy involved in the moderate overlap and small overlap frontal tests depends on the speed and weight of the test vehicle. Thus, the crash is more severe for heavier vehicles.

      Given equivalent frontal ratings, the heavier of two vehicles usually offers better protection in real-world crashes. In 2009, IIHS demonstrated this principle with a series of tests in which small cars were crashed into larger cars, all of which had good frontal ratings in the moderate overlap test.”

      A Tesla having a head on frontal collision would likely have a higher survival/injury rate, based upon IIHS test results.

  7. BoltFan says:

    Wow. The diminutive little Chevy Bolt did better in the crash tests than the larger Model S.

    1. Nix says:

      You’ve just done exactly what IIHS says not to do:

      “Frontal crash test results can’t be used to compare vehicle performance across weight classes. That’s because the kinetic energy involved in the moderate overlap and small overlap frontal tests depends on the speed and weight of the test vehicle. Thus, the crash is more severe for heavier vehicles.

      Given equivalent frontal ratings, the heavier of two vehicles usually offers better protection in real-world crashes. In 2009, IIHS demonstrated this principle with a series of tests in which small cars were crashed into larger cars, all of which had good frontal ratings in the moderate overlap test.”

      A Tesla having a head on frontal collision would likely have a higher survival/injury rate, based upon IIHS test results.

      1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

        Bolt is also quite heavy, 3,580 lbs & 164 in length, vs Model S 75 4,469 lbs & 196 in length.

        I understand your desire to apologize for Tesla, but I think you are stretching a bit with this IIHS disclaimer. Or a lot.

        1. Nix says:

          I’m not stretching anything. I’m simply posting IIHS’s own instructions on how to interpret their data, and how not to interpret their data.

          You yourself document that the Model S weighs 25% more than the car it was compared to, establishing exactly the reality of the weight difference that this IIHS comment was written to address.

          Please tell me *EXACTLY* what it is in the the IIHS quote that you think the IIHS is wrong about.

        2. Nix says:

          zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

          Please read and understand these test results:

          http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/new-crash-tests-demonstrate-the-influence-of-vehicle-size-and-weight-on-safety-in-crashes-results-are-relevant-to-fuel-economy-policies

          The lighter car dropped 4 ratings, dropping from “Good” to “poor” due to the weight differences between a midsize to sub-compact, with similar weight differences as the Bolt and Model S.

          Based on these IIHS test results, if you were to run a Model S into the Bolt at 40 mph in an offset collision, the 25% weight difference means that the “good” rated Bolt would likely drop down to a “poor” rating in a real-world crash between the two cars.

  8. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    In general and not specifically related to the Model S, I wonder if there is a way to build cars to perform better in these “small offset” crash tests. Seems to me the same engineering which would make the nose of a car effectively perform as a crumple zone, is the same engineering which would make it perform poorly in the “small offset” crash test. Overall, the crumple zone should be designed to collapse smoothly and consistently over time, to provide the maximum deceleration possible. That means you don’t want any section of the crumple zone to be noticeably stronger than the rest.

    Contrariwise, it seems to me that the best way to design to prevent intrusion into the passenger compartment during a “small overlap” collision would be to put in some strong plates at the sides, angled sharply so that a small offset impact would shove the entire front end of the car sideways, resulting in the collision being a glancing blow rather than the impact continuing clear back to the passenger compartment. On the other hand, that might result in a second impact further back, at the side of the passenger compartment, which obviously would increase the danger for passengers.

    This is one area where computer models would be of great benefit. No need to build full-sized prototype cars to see if this idea is worth pursuing.

    1. sven ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ says:

      Pu-Pu said:
      “I wonder if there is a way to build cars to perform better in these ‘small offset’ crash tests.”

      Yes, there are ways.

      In a small overlap frontal crash, the BMW i3’s bumper impacts a hook that breaks off the head of the bolt holding the front suspension to the frame, which pivots the wheel away from the car and prevents it from intruding into the passenger compartment.

      The i3 also has serrated teeth on the back of the bumper that will bite into the front frame rail when the end of the bumper is bent back in a small overlap front crash, creating a stronger structure with less weight.

      Go to 2:08 in the video below:

      http://insideevs.com/bmw-i3-carbon-fiber-explored-teardown-video/

    2. Neromanceres says:

      Yes another way is to not abosrb the energy but deflect it. If you watch all the cars that do well in this test they gracefully get pushed to the side in a very smooth manner. With the Model S there is very little deflection and when the safety cell hits the barrier there is an extremely rapid change in direction leading to high G forces.

    3. Nix says:

      electrek has a video of a Volvo doing very well on this test by bouncing the car off to the right. The entire front tire/wheel sheers off and the car never actually comes to a stop on the barrier. It just deflects away.

      That seems to be the winning strategy for the smaller offset of the two offset collision tests.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        some cars deflect off the barrier like the Volvo, some don’t. Deflecting it off requires different internal structure to divert the force sideways to push the car out.

        New Honda Pilot (previous version did poorly) pretty much “ate” it like the Tesla but still held up okay and good a “Good” rating.

        The new Volt also appear to take the full blunt of the crash force as well.

        Volvo is certainly doing it right for sure since it reduces g force on the passenger anyway.

        I would have thought that Tesla has more “room” in the frunk to create the structure needed to divert the force and the car.

        1. Nix says:

          I think the problem is that this test misses the Frunk structure completely, and all the force has to be absorbed by stuff that wasn’t built to be part of the crumple zone.

          It looks like a few inches more overlap, and the Frunk structure would have been able to absorb more of the collision. A few inches less overlap, and the force would have gone outside the front wheel, and the car would have likely deflected away and torn off the fender (and perhaps door) without the hard stop. They need to redesign something just for this limited situation of this exact overlap collision.

  9. James says:

    If Tesla got the result of Lincoln and Mercedes, they’d claim Model S is safest car in world and history. It has best results in all categories ever tested. It is unbreakable.

    1. floydboy says:

      Unbreakable huh?

  10. sven ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ says:

    The Tesla Model S broke the Consumer Reports test, and now the IIHS crash safety test breaks the Tesla Model S.

    Tesla said:
    “While IIHS and dozens of other private industry groups around the world have methods and motivations that suit their own subjective purposes, the most objective and accurate independent testing of vehicle safety is currently done by the U.S. Government [NHTSA], which found Model S and Model X to be the two cars with the lowest probability of injury of any cars that it has ever tested, making them the safest cars in history.”

    Talk about sour grapes. Tesla aces the U.S. Government NHTSA crash test, and therefore calls it “the most objective and accurate.” Tesla doesn’t do as well on both the tougher Euro NCAP crash tests and IIHS crash tests, and implies that they’re not objective and not accurate. LOL! That is some really lame spin Elon, really lame.

    How exactly are the IIHS crash tests not objective? The goal of the IIHS is to reduce the amounts paid out by its member insurance companies for personal injuries in crashes. Why exactly does the IIHS have a bias against Tesla?

    The Tesla apologists and shills are going to have to work plenty of overtime to try and discredit the results of these objective and accurate IIHS crash tests.

    1. Elon says:

      If I didn’t win, it must be rigged!!! What is not clear???

  11. Eric Alvarez says:

    Being a very new company car, I don’t think Tesla has to be ashamed not to be perfect in all the tests… yet.

    1. James says:

      Tesla has to be very ashamed, cause they claim their cars are the safest. IIHS has proved that Tesla’s cars are below avarage, I bet it will be the same with Model X

      1. Mark.ca says:

        Below average at this test and not in general so don’t wet yourself just yet.

      2. ModernMarvelFan says:

        I would say that is below average.

        Acceptable is still a decent rating.

        It is:

        Good.
        Acceptable
        Marginal
        Poor.

        Remember that Nissan LEAF got a “poor” rating on this test. First Gen Volt got only “acceptable” rating after a small tweak and Gen2 Volt got a good rating.

        So, I wouldn’t say that is below average.

        Acceptable in small overlap frontal crash used to be good enough to be considered as “TSP”.

        1. ModernMarvelFan says:

          Correction:

          “I wouldn’t say that is below average”

  12. vegan_face says:

    Now I am really interested in the test results for the model 3.

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      Are you willing to wait?

      It took IIHS nearly 4.5 years to do the first test. Will you wait another 4.5 years for IIHS to test the Model 3?

    2. Nix says:

      Model 3 should be lighter, depending on how much steel they end up using. That should help them in this test. But it will have a shorter front end, which will hurt them in this test. So it is a toss-up between those factors.

      From there it comes down to the engineering differences between the two front crumple zones.

  13. BillT says:

    To me it isn’t surprising a 7+ year old design didn’t do as well as designs created after this test started. It is incredibly demanding on the vehicle’s structure and the car has to be designed to deal with the highly concentrated forces. I suspect the model 3 and next generation model S will do fine on it.

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      7 years old is an excuse?

      12 years old Volvo XC90 aced it the first time the test was introduced.

      Stop making excuses.

      The problem is that Tesla made the claim that they are the “best in the world” and now can’t back it up.

      Acceptable is still good enough. But it isn’t the best anymore.

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