The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration just awarded the Tesla Model X a 5-star safety rating in every category and subcategory after conducting the first independent crash test of the electric vehicle since its launch in 2015. Tesla was quick to trumpet the rating, noting the Model X was the first SUV to receive the federal government’s highest safety rating across the board.
The NHTSA also released this video of the Model X crash test, so we can watch the vehicle crumple like an accordion from multiple angles.
“Model X performs so much better in a crash than gas-powered SUVs because of its all-electric architecture and powertrain design,” Tesla said in a blog post. “The rigid, fortified battery pack that powers Model X is mounted beneath the floor of the vehicle creating a center of gravity so low that Model X has the lowest rollover probability of any SUV on the road. No other SUV has ever come close to meeting and exceeding this rollover requirement.”
That rollover probability is so low, Tesla once claimed its engineers couldn’t even “flip” the Model X during internal crash tests. Rollover is often the main safety problem for SUVs. Tesla claims that Model X owners have a 93 percent probability of walking away from a crash without serious injury.
Indeed, Tesla CEO Elon Musk often tweets out stories about accidents involving Teslas where no injuries were reported.
Tesla has always been bullish about its crash resilience, going so far as to boast that the Model S broke the NHTSA crash test ratings record in 2013. This turned out to be slightly exaggerated, prompting NHTSA to revise its advertising guidelines to forbid automakers from stating that a car received a higher score than what’s possible.
Tesla’s commitment to safety took a hit last year when a Model S owner was killed when his car smashed into a truck. The fatal accident took on new relevance when it was revealed that the Model S was in Autopilot mode, prompting questions about the safety of Tesla’s advanced driver assist system. NHTSA later exonerated Tesla for any involvement in the crash.
Still, the 5-star safety rating for the Model X is certainly an important feather in Elon Musk’s cap, especially as he guides his company into a very crucial year. Next month, Tesla is expected to begin delivery of the Model 3, the company’s first mass-market electric vehicle. And in September, Musk has said he will unveil Tesla’s first stab at an all-electric semi truck.