European safety ratings body Euro NCAP has awarded Tesla a maximum five star safety rating for its Model X premium SUV, giving it the highest scores to date for any Large Off-Road class vehicle for 2018/2019.
According to Euro NCAP which released a statement on the rating on Thursday (European time), the Model X was the “stand-out performer” in the latest round of ratings.
Scoring 98% for adult occupant safety, 81% for child occupant safety, 72% for vulnerable road users, it also scored 94% for safety assist features – the same score the Model 3 awarded for safety assist in July.
It’s score of 98% for adult occupancy – in which it scored 8 out of 8 points for the Frontal Offset Deformable Barrier test, and 16 out of 16 points for the Side Impact – could even gain it the title of “Best in Class”, says Euro NCAP.
Notably, the Model X scores also beat electric competitor Porsche which has been pitted as a rival to Tesla’s Model S premium electric sedan.
The Porsche Taycan was also awarded the maximum five stars but its scores came in significantly lower than the Model X, with 85% for adult occupants, 83$ for child occupants, 70% for vulnerable road users, and 73% for safety assist.
Euro NCAP said in regards to the Taycan scores that, “While the Taycan is all about high-performance electric driving performance and primarily targets the high-end of the consumer market, it is reassuring that the car achieved the full five stars in safety testing.”
According to Tesla, “All of these results are made possible by our all-electric architecture, which provides a low center of gravity, rigid passenger compartment, and large crumple zone. And, with our over-the-air updates, Model X (like all Tesla vehicles) continues to get even safer over time.”
The first time that any road safety ratings body has tested Tesla’s latest V3 hardware which contains its new self-driving chip, it might be reasonably expected to see further improvements due to future over-the-air updates when Tesla’s next vehicle is tested.
Whether that will be the Model Y, which Tesla may release in the US as soon as the first quarter of 2020 if reports out of Taiwan from part suppliers prove accurate, or Model S which has not been tested since 2014, is not yet known.
When the Model S was last tested by Euro NCAP, it also received a maximum five star safety rating, receiving 82% for adult occupants, 77% for child occupants, 66% for pedestrians and 71% for safety assist.
Given the fact that the Model X scored somewhat similarly to the Model 3 (it received 96% for adult occupants, 86% for child occupants, and 74% for vulnerable road users on its scorecard), it wold be interesting to see how things have improved for the Model S in the last five years.
The elephant in the room is of course Tesla’s latest introduction to the order page, the all-electric Cybertruck.
While some are doubtful of Tesla’s actual capacity to produce the all-electric utility truck (known as a ute in Australia and pickup in the US) which features an ultra-hard steel exoskeleton, it is understood that more than 250,000 $US100 ($A150 in Australia) fully refundable deposits have been taken for the Cybertruck since it’s unveil almost two weeks ago.
Australian ANCAP chief James Goodwin however has questioned whether the vehicle would pass Australian safety standards.
Tesla has not responded to a query by The Driven on whether this is of concern, although it is likely that the Cybertruck, if it goes into production, would employ the same safety assist features present in its four production electric vehicles.
However, questions remain around the existence of crumple zones because of the Cybertruck’s hard exoskeleton and how it would protect vulnerable road users.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.