Watch: Tesla Model 3 nails North American crash testing
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The flow of incoming electric vehicles raises some questions around safety. Some are of the immediate and valid kind — like what happens when the big batteries of said vehicles combine with a flame — and others are more towards the background, like whether unspoken differences in construction philosophy have benefits compared to traditional 'ice' vehicles.
What we do know for sure is that these vehicles tend to perform very well in traditional crash tests. The Insurance Institute for Highways Safety has recently tested a series of alternative fuel vehicles; including the Audi e-tron, Hyundai Nexo, Chevrolet Bolt (wish we were getting that here), and the Tesla Model 3.
All of them but the Bolt scored the firm's highest award; the Top Safety Pick+.
The Bolt evidently missed out because of under performing headlights prone to glare for oncoming drivers, as well as the tendency during testing for the passenger dummy's head to thread the needle between the primary passenger airbag and the A-pillar and curtain airbag.
The Nexo on the other hand was the first hydrogen vehicle to score the accolade, although hydrogen outlets remain limited in the United States.
Naturally though the most discussed scalp of the group was the Model 3. Having just launched on New Zealand shores, its success in testing backs up what we've seen during Euro NCAP testing, as well as Tesla's record for lauded structural safety in its vehicles.
“The structure of the Tesla Model 3 held up reasonably well in our driver's side small overlap crash test. The only indication of an injury risk was a slightly elevated force on the dummy's lower leg. Overall the Tesla Model 3 earned a good rating in this test,” said Chief Research Officer David Zuby.
“Vehicles with alternative powertrains have come into their own. There’s no need to trade away safety for a lower carbon footprint when choosing a vehicle.”