The Model X posted the highest crash test ratings ever for an SUV.
Tesla loves to tout its cars’ safety features as the best in the industry — and now, another of its vehicles has the ratings to back it up.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently gave the Model X perfect safety scores across the board after putting the SUV through its vaunted five-star crash testing program. The scores are the highest ever for an SUV, according to Tesla, which trumpeted the news in a blog post.
The ratings confirm Tesla’s safety claims and give even more weight to anecdotes about drivers walking away from potentially deadly accidents, like the viral account of the groom who wrote a heartfelt note to thank Elon Musk and company after surviving a nasty crash in a rented Model X on the eve of his wedding.
Tesla said the Model X performed so well in the crash tests because of its electric design. Since the battery pack is mounted under the SUV’s floor, the Model X has lower center of gravity and therefore, Tesla says, is less prone to rollovers than other vehicles in its class, which are front-loaded with heavier gas-guzzling engines.
The tests also found that the Model X the lowest probability of injury of any SUV ever tested, estimating that occupants have an overall 93 percent chance of surviving a serious crash without major injury. The Model X’s probability of injuring rating was second to only one other vehicle across all other classes of NHTSA tests: Tesla’s Model S.
The electric sedan also posted perfect crash test scores back in 2013, even exceeding the scale with a record 5.4 combined stars — but those safety ratings aren’t free of controversy. The NHTSA looked into a series of customer complaints about the car’s suspension last summer, and its Autopilot semi-autonomous driving technology, which was itself the subject of an NHTSA probe after a deadly accident, has given some experts cause for concern.
The Model X isn’t totally perfect, either; some of the SUVs were recalled after an issue was found with the electronic parking brakes, and Tesla recently issued over-the-air software updates to patch a problem with the passenger side airbags in right-hand drive models.