The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has bestowed its highest ever SUV safety rating to Tesla’s Model X. The Model X earned a 5-star rating in every category and sub-category that NHTSA tests, using the government body’s own independent testing process. This also puts the Model X second only to the Model S in terms of overall injury probability to passengers per NHTSA’s ranking system.
This safety performance owes a lot to the unique design of Tesla’s vehicle, due to its electric powertrain. The bottom mounted battery pack, which is spread out across the base of the vehicle, puts the Model X’s center of gravity far lower down and distributed when compared to traditional fuel injection engine SUVs. That lower center of gravity helps immensely in preventing rollovers, which is typically a big weak spot for SUVs, which sit higher up on the road.
NHTSA’s rating system predicts around a 93 percent chance of a passenger in the Model X walking away from serious crashes, to put the high ratings in more relatable terms. That’s a high honor for Tesla, especially in tandem with the Model S reputation (despite some back-pedalling on that count at Consumer Reports related to the auto-braking feature on gen 2 hardware cars, which are getting that via update now).
This means the Model 3 will have big shoes to fill, but if Tesla can pull off a NHTSA trifecta with that vehicle, which is set to start deliveries next month, it should really help secure Tesla’s overall safety reputation as a core competitive value.