Tesla Model X Tops NHTSA SUV Safety Ratings

The Tesla Model X became the first-ever SUV to earn a 5-star safety rating across the board from the federal safety agency.

In its company blog, Tesla today announced that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Model X a 5-star safety rating in every category and subcategory covered during its independent testing.

The company said that the Model X represents the lowest probability of injury for any SUV ever tested. In the context of all vehicles the federal agency has ever tested, the Model X’s overall probability of injury was second only to the Model S, according to Tesla.

Tesla thinks that having to protect the battery pack during the design phase helped it surmount the controversial issue of the SUV potentially rolling over. The large battery pack had to be mounted beneath the floor of the SUV, creating a center of gravity so low it gives the Model X the lowest rollover probability of any SUV on the road.

“No other SUV has ever come close to meeting and exceeding this rollover requirement,” Tesla said.

The nine subcategories tested by NHTSA included frontal impact, side impact, and pole impact. Testing also explored intrusion into the cabin and how energy is absorbed during a crash; and how well the seatbelt and airbag systems work.

Tesla said that gaining 5-star ratings in all categories and subcategories means that Model X passengers have an overall 93 percent probability of avoiding a serious injury from the crash.

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The Tesla Model S earned the highest-ever NHTSA crash test safety rating in 2013.

In January of this year, the federal safety agency ruled that Tesla’s Autopilot semi-autonomous system had not caused the May 2016 fatal Florida crash in a Tesla Model S.

During April 2016, the electric automaker conducted its own voluntary recall of 2,700 Model X vehicles. The hinge for a third-row seat had failed during tests, which could collapse forward in some accidents and had to be replaced in these affected vehicles.


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