The Tesla Model Y has been awarded a five-star safety rating by the US-based National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), with the lowest rollover risk ever recorded for SUVs by the body.
According to NHTSA’s website, the all-electric crossover which is currently only being delivered in the US has been given five stars for the front driver and passenger side crash, side barrier and pole crash (both separately and combined), as well as for rollover crash. This is the top rating for all categories.
The variant tested by NHTSA was the 2020 Tesla Model Y Long Range. In a statement posted by Tesla on Wednesday (US time), it said it expects “similar results for all Model Y variants, including our Performance AWD and single motor, rear-wheel drive variants in the future”.
The Model Y joins the Model 3, Model S and Model X in achieving a five-star rating (while the Model Y is not yet available in Australia, all three of Tesla’s other production vehicles have also achieved five-star ratings from ANCAP).
Tesla says the fact that the Model Y’s safety rating is largely due to the fact it shares “fundamental architecture” with the Model 3, but that because it has a higher mass than the Model 3 due to being an SUV-style vehicle, has been further fortified.
The EV maker notes the Model Y differs from the Model 3 in its use of a single-piece rear casting. This, it says, along with a fortified battery pack, creates “a robust safety cell with enough room for our advanced restraint systems to deploy and provide even more occupant protection”.
Results from NHTSA also shows that the Model Y has the lowest rollover risk ever recorded by the safety body, Tesla notes.
“To calculate rollover resistance in NHTSA’s test, Model Y is parked on a suspended platform that rotates in all directions to physically measure centre of gravity and moments of inertia,” it said via its blog post.
“NHTSA’s assessment determined that Model Y has a rollover risk of 7.9%, the lowest of any SUV recorded to date by the organization.”
Electric vehicles typically have lower rollover risks than internal combustion engine vehicles, because battery packs are usually located in the floor of the vehicle giving them a lower centre of gravity.
By comparison, the 2020 Audi E-tron has a rollover risk of 9.2% according to NHTSA, while the Tesla Model X has a rollover risk of 9.3%. Other electric SUVs such as the Jaguar I-Pace, Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia e-Niro have not been rated to date by the safety firm.
The Model Y has been subject to two recalls in the – one for loose control arm bolts in November 2020 and Inoperative brake lights in September 2020.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.