Why Tesla's Model X Was The First SUV To Receive A Perfect Crash Test Rating

SUVs are generally safe, but have a high rollover probability. Tesla was able to overcome this obstacle with their Model X SUV. Here’s how they did it.

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The following is a transcript of the video:

Narrator: This Tesla Model X refuses to roll over. Unlike most SUVs which tend to roll over with ease, the Model X continues to return to an upright position. Here’s why the Model X was the first SUV to receive a perfect crash test rating. When it comes to vehicle safety, size matters. So it’s not uncommon for SUVs to be generally safer than your standard sedan. However, they tend to have one big shortcoming. Rollovers.

SUVs are notorious for having a high center of gravity causing them to roll over when put into tight maneuvering situations, or a side impact. Rollovers can result in the partial or full ejection of passengers from the vehicle, increasing the chances of injury or death. In 2016, rollovers happened in one percent of serious crashes in passenger vehicles but accounted for one-third of collision-related deaths. 

Over the past three decades, automakers have been able to reduce the frequency of rollovers in vehicles with technology and more stable designs. However, once a serious impact occurs it’s just basic physics. A higher center of gravity increases the likelihood of a car tipping or rolling over.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA is the only organization that tests rollover resistance. They also test frontal crashes and side impacts from a pole and barrier. After each test, they measure readings from a dummy to determine how much damage a real person is likely to sustain. They use this data to determine a safety rating in each category and an overall safety rating for the vehicle.

Amongst its many luxury features, the Model X hosts active safety technology such as collision avoidance systems and automatic emergency braking. But what sets the Model X apart is its design. Like other Teslas, the Model X has a large, rigid battery pack located on the floor of the vehicle. This gives the Model X a much lower center of gravity than your average SUV. In the event of a collision that would normally cause an SUV to roll over, this would happen instead.

But rollovers are just one aspect of the safety test. Since the Model X is an electric vehicle, there’s no need for mechanical components in the hood of the car. This allows for a much larger crumple zone to absorb energy from a frontal crash. It also has specially-made side sills that absorb energy in addition to its rigid side pillars. These features help reduce the force exerted on passengers and increases their protection. But if you don’t have $80,000 laying around for a Model X there’s still plenty of SUVs out there with excellent safety ratings.


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Why Tesla’s Model X Was The First SUV To Receive A Perfect Crash Test Rating

33 Replies to “Why Tesla's Model X Was The First SUV To Receive A Perfect Crash Test Rating”

  1. Thor _

    Audi e-tron is the only electric vehicle that has a top safety pick + award from iihs. Subaru has 7cars in 2019 with top safty pick + award. Last year tesla's headlights failed, and the small overlap crash test was only acceptable, not good. The bar is raised for 2019. Now the small overlap test need to be good. Tesla also fails with braking distance. It slows down like a big 4wd pickup truck.

  2. Py16777216

    Well its "cool" but I don't need up folding doors, I don't want to charge my vehicle for an hour to go under 500 miles or live somewhere that provides a fast charging station that would be easily available. 🙄 Perhaps if I were rich enough to have a caravan including a gas/diesel truck for my car to ride when I'm to lazy to charge it but still want the great acceleration. If I had a fast charger in my garage it could be a fun touring cartoon flaunt my wealth. Haha plebeians my car is worth what you make in a year if your lucky. Also how expensive is the battery, and I really would feel stupid driving a novelty for the environment while relying on a technology that only now is good enough to have only lost 15% capacity in 2.5 years of a modern highest class cellphone. Call me when the Model S has the reliability and cost equivalence of a free car and that gets 100mpg. Then I'll buy it even if it cost 80k.once a battery can safely hold 10 times the power of a modern lithium ion that's when it will be a great argument. I see it like this I burn coal for electricity and so it's only carbon neutral in extreemly unique locations like where I actually I've getting 99% non oil power from nuclear the real cleanest energy source, and at least this way I'm warming the earth and making plant growth easier again in my location. Win win.

  3. glasslinger

    Make sure you have "full replacement value" insurance for the car! My friend had an accident (not his fault even) one year after he bought the car. The insurance only offered him about half the actual value of the car, far less than it would cost to buy a replacement. It took him thousands of dollars in legal fees and two years time to take them to court.

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