Is The New Tesla Model Y The Safest SUV On The Road?


When every a new model is launched we need to know how safe it is, so the question is how safe is the Model Y

How Safe is The Tesla Model Y? According to the Euro NCAP Organisation safety tests, Tesla’s safety assist features are far superior to other car manufacturers, and according to Tesla’s data, they do help them avoid accidents altogether.

Currently, there is no crash data out for the Model Y, but we do know that the Model Y is built on the same platform as the Model 3 and it shares somewhere around 75% of the same parts.

Because of all these similarities with the Model 3, the crash test results for the Model Y should be as good, or if not better than the Model 3.

Also because the Model Y is Tesla’s newest vehicle, it has the advantage that it can benefit from everything Tesla has learned from their previous vehicles, especially with their best selling Model 3.

When Tesla revealed the Model Y to the world, here’s what Elon Musk had to say about the Model Y overall safety rating.

Like the 3 the Model Y will be extremely safe. You may know the Model 3 has the lowest probability of injury of any car ever tested by the US government, we expect the Model Y to have a similar 5 stars result in every category.

With the battery pack alone low in the flow, it’s going to have a very low center of gravity. It has the functionality of an SUV, but it will ride like a sports car. It will be tight in corners and we expect it will be the safest midsize SUV in the world. by far.

At Tesla, we always designed our cars with safety as the number one goal. People think that we need a performance in an EV but we think safety comes first and this is by far the most important thing.

As I talked about at the beginning of the article, the Model Y is built on the same platform as a Model 3. If we look at crash data for the Model 3 we can get a little bit of an idea of how the Model Y might fare.

There are three main crash test organizations that we’re going to be talking about today and the data they have for the Tesla vehicles. The first one is the NHTSA or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The second is the IIHS or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the third is the Euro NCAP, or the European new car assessment program.

I think to get the complete picture of how safe a vehicle is, it’s important to look at the crash data from all three of these main organizations because each one has its niche.

For example, according to the NHTSA website, they are the only organization that rates rollover resistance in addition to frontal and side crashworthiness. So in a lot of ways the NHTSA data might be the most robust and most helpful in many cases.

The IIHS data is really important as well, and we’ll talk about that but I love how the Euro NCAP organization makes it easy to compare vehicles side-by-side.

They give a percentage of safety for each particular category, and that’s a really important way to categorize these vehicles and compare them one to another.

To build the case for why I think the Model Y will be the safest SUV ever, let’s move on to looking at the crash data for the Model 3 in which the Model Y is built off of.

If you look at the IIHS information for midsize luxury cars you’ll see that the Model 3 has a top safety pick+ among just three vehicles in that class that got that rating.

If you look at the Euro end cap score you’ll see that overall the Model 3 got a 5-star rating in their testing.

And if you look at the NHTSA data you’ll see that once again their overall safety rating and the safety rating and each one of the ways they test the vehicles was a 5-star rating.

As you can see from this data, all three crash tests and organizations gave the Model 3 their top rating. But you must dive deeper into the data because just a star rating doesn’t give you the complete picture of how safe a vehicle is.

Make & ModelRatingAdult OccupantChild OccupantVulnerable Road UsersSafety Assist
Mercedes Menz CLA5 Star96%91%`91%75%
Model 35 Star96%86%74%94%
BMW 35 Star97%87%87%76%
Subaru Forester5 Star97%91%80%78%
Model S5 Star98%81%72%94%

When these organizations give a vehicle a 5-star rating, it’s kind of like getting an A in school. But what’s important to realize is that somebody might be able to get a 92% in school and get an A.

Another person might be able to get a 99% in school and also get an A, but of course, the person who got a 99 percent did better than the person who got a 92%.

For example, the NHTSA gives a 5-star rating to any car over a certain threshold, but that doesn’t differentiate between somebody that just barely makes a five-star rating and somebody that is way safer than all of the other five-star cars.

Because of this lack of differentiation in the five-star rating for the NHTSA data, Tesla dove in and found out that according to the NHTSA data their vehicles have the lowest probability of injury of any of the top vehicles that they have tested since 2011.

If you take a look at this table the Model 3 has the very lowest probability of injury of any of these vehicles, the Model S is number two and the Model X is number three.

As you can see from this table the Model S is a 6.3 percent probability of injury, the Model 3 has a 5.7 percent probability and the Model X has a 6.5% probability.

When you compare the Model S to the Model X and you take that same percentage increase from Model S to the Model X and compare that to the Model 3 versus a Model Y, I estimate that the Model Y will have somewhere around a 5.9 percent injury probability based on NHTSA trends.

Injury Probability

ModelInjury
Model S6.3%
Model 35.7%
Model X6.5%
Model Y5.9% (Est)
Source: NHTSA & Tesla Blog

Another really important statistic for SUV’s is how likely they are to rollover. When I talked about the NHTSA testing they are the only organization to test the rollover resistance of these vehicles.

If you look at their data the Model S has a 5.7% rollover risk, the Model 3.6%, the Model X 9.3%, and the Model Y I estimate will have somewhere around a 10.8% rollover risk.

Tesla Rollover Risk

ModelRollover Risk
Model S5.7%
Model 36.6%
Model X9.3%
Model Y10.8% (Est)
Source: NHTSA

I made this estimation by comparing the same percentage difference between the Model S and the Model X and using that percentage to compare the Model 3 to the Model Y.

To appreciate how low these numbers are for Tesla’s vehicles, I think it’s really important that you compare these to other vehicles that are popular and considered safe.

As I mentioned before the test and Model X have a risk of 9.3%, the BMW X5 has a risk percentage of 15.9%, the Volvo XC90 has a rate of 17.9% and the Mercedes GLE has a rating of 18.6%.

SUV Rollover Risk

ModelRollover Risk
Model Model Y10.8 (Est)
BMW X317.1%
Volvo XC6017.6%
Mercedec GLC18.6
Source: NHTSA

As you can see Tesla vehicles have a very low rollover risk and this is because of all the weight of the battery pack at the bottom of the vehicle. If you compare my rollover risk estimation for the Model Y to other vehicles in its same class, you can see there that it has a much lower risk than some of these other vehicles.

The BMW X3 has a rollover risk percentage of 17.1%, the Volvo XC60 17.6%, and the Mercedes GLC 18.6%.

ModelRollover Risk
Model Model Y10.8 (Est)
BMW X317.1%
Volvo XC6017.6%
Mercedec GLC18.6%
Source: NHTSA

Let’s move over to Euro NCAP data which makes it easy to compare one vehicle to another, and has percentages that make it very easy to determine the safest vehicle.

If you take all their data and look at the top overall rated vehicles you’ll see that the Tesla Model 3 is second of all the vehicles they’ve tested. This overall rating is determined based on how the vehicle has done in its four main categories. The adult occupant safety, the child occupant safety, vulnerable road users and safety assist score.

If you dive into each one of these categories instead of just looking at the overall rating you can see starting with a safety assessment rating that the Model 3 and the Model X have the very top scores when compared to any other vehicle that the Euro end cap has tested. They both have a safety assist score of 94%

If you instead rank this by adult occupant safety, you can see that the Model X has the third-highest rating for this particular category.

According to the Euro NCAP, the one place where Tesla vehicles don’t score quite as well as others are in the child occupant safety. You can see from this table that Tesla is near the bottom for child occupant safety, Tesla is number 24 on the list.

But once again, I want to take you back to that overall rating, safety assists score, and talk about why I think that is an important metric and why it shows how safe a vehicle is.

Based on the Euro NCAP data the reason they put the Model 3 so far up in overall ratings is that it is likely to avoid an accident rather than get into one. If you avoid the wreck altogether you have a 0% chance of injury, and in my opinion, that is the most important statistic.

As the Euro NCAP Organisation pointed out, Tesla’s safety assist features are far superior to other car manufacturers, and according to Tesla’s data, they do help them avoid accidents altogether.

Over the last several years Tesla has put out a quarterly safety report talking about just how many accidents their vehicles get into and when you look at this data according to Tesla they record one accident for every 3.07 million miles driven with autopilot engaged.

Q4 2019 Safety Report

Autopilot Engaged1 in Every 3.07 Million Miles
Safety Features Only1 in Every 2.10 Million Miles
NHTSA Average1 in Every 479,000 Miles

If you don’t engage the autopilot, but just use the basic safety features built into Tesla you have one accident every 2.1 million miles. According to the NHTSA, the average in the United States is one accident for every 479 thousand miles.

As you can see, whether you have autopilot engaged, or not, because of Tesla’s safety assist features they are much safer and give you a much better chance of not getting in an accident in the first place.

Another really important safety statistic is to look at the fire risk of the vehicle. According to Tesla’s data, between 2012 and 2019 there was one Tesla fire for every 175 million miles driven. According to the US Department of Transportation, the average car fire is one fire, and every 19 million miles driven.

Fire Report

Tesla 2012-20191 Fire in Every 175 Million Miles
USA DOT1 Fire IN Every 19 Million Miles

Tesla’s electric vehicles are not only safer because they avoid accidents, but they’re also way less likely to burst into flames as well.

We’ve gone through a lot in this article, but the question remains is the Model Y the safest SUV ever?

The Model 3 has the very lowest probability of injury of any vehicle that the NHTSA has ever tested, and as I mentioned previously they have the most robust crash testing of any of these other organizations.

Testing not only regular things but also the side crashworthiness and the role of resistance. These are really important statistics for an SUV and they do play in the overall safety of the vehicle.

On top of all this Tesla has the best safety assist features of any other vehicles, and with this being their latest vehicle they have been able to take all they have learned about safety and implement them into the Model Y’s design.

When you combine all this data, and you compare the most robust testing from the NHTSA, and you look at the Euro NCAP data you can quickly build a picture that shows that the Model Y will be the safest SUV ever.

When the crash test data does come out, I do not doubt that the Model Y will be a 5-star vehicle and I do believe it will be the safest SUV ever tested.

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