Tesla’s all-electric SUV has won the What Car? 2023 Car of the Year Safety Award after posting the highest ever rating in the annual award.
In 2022 the Model Y scored Euro NCAP’s highest ever safety score of 364 out of 400 beating over 100 other models since new testing criteria started in 2020.
Award judge and chief of research strategy at Thatcham Research Matthew Avery said the Tesla Model Y has a very good AEB system (Autonomous Emergency Braking).
“It uses cameras all around the vehicle to monitor the situation to make sure it can avoid pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles”.
Discussing the judges’ decision with What Car? consumer editor and fellow judge Claire Evans, Avery said “there was one car that really stands out and that’s the Tesla Model Y.”
“It’s got one of the highest scores we’ve ever seen for passive safety in the toughest test that we’ve ever done. It’s got great active safety systems to support the driver to help prevent a collision in the first place.”
The Model Y scored 97% in “passive testing” which involves traditional crash testing using dummies to assess the structure of the car as well as the effectiveness of seatbelts and airbags.
Active technology a game-changer for automotive safety
Vehicle safety testers now also conduct “active testing” which looks at new technologies such as radar and camera systems designed to avoid collisions completely. The Model Y achieved a 98% score on driver assist testing thanks to Tesla’s AI driving software.
Fellow judge and Euro NCAP secretary general Michiel van Ratingen said: “We must give congratulations to Tesla and Model Y for achieving a truly outstanding, near-perfect safety rating in Euro NCAP’s tests.”
“Tesla have committed themselves to a very high level of safety performance in crash prevention and protection, we hope to see them continue to aspire to that goal in the future.”
Judges also noted the importance of over-the-air software updates which enable Tesla to constantly improve the vehicle’s active safety system while it’s sitting in your garage.
NEWS: @Tesla Model Y wins the 2023 safety car award from What Car?
"There is no safer place to put your money or your family in 2023 than the Tesla Model Y."
In addition, the Model 3 won the Executive Car Of The Year, as well as the Efficiency award. pic.twitter.com/tmGoon79Ks
— Sawyer Merritt (@SawyerMerritt) January 20, 2023
The criteria also includes affordability, asking “does the vehicle contribute to the democratisation of safety tech?”
The runners up in the annual safety awards were the Smart #1 and the Mercedes-Benz EQE.
The judges noted that 2022 was a golden year in new vehicle testing, with 53 of 67 cars all achieving a 5-star rating during Euro NCAP assessments.
The award comes just weeks after a family of four survived when their Tesla Model Y plummeted 75 metres over a cliff.
Daniel Bleakley is a clean technology researcher and advocate with a background in engineering and business. He has a strong interest in electric vehicles, renewable energy, manufacturing and public policy.