In a recent crash test, while two other plug-in cars earned top marks for safety, the Tesla Motor’s luxury sedan fell short of receiving the highest crash-protection rating. The BMW i3 also fell short in the crash test, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The Tesla fell short in few key areas of the crash test, according to the IIHS. However, the Toyota Prius Prime and the Chevrolet Volt, two other popular plug-ins, made the cut. As a result, these two vehicles were designated as Top Safety Pick Plus vehicles.
The two vehicles excelled in a few different areas including front, side and roof crash protection and safety of their head restraints. The two vehicles also had good headlights.
“There’s no reason the most efficient vehicles can’t also be among the safest,” says David Zuby, IIHS’ executive vice president, in a statement.
While the Tesla earned the top mark – “good” – in all other respects, it felt short in one of the hardest tests. The Tesla was rated “acceptable” in the test which is the small overlap front crash test, which simulates running into a utility pole or other narrow object on one extreme side or the car or the other. In addition to these results, the cars headlights are also too dim.
In the crash tests, the dummy’s torso moved forward resulting in it hitting its head on the steering wheel, when the safety belt failed to keep it from moving. There is also concern about potential leg injuries that could occur for drivers involved in small overlap front crashes.
“Neither of these (potential injuries) were so high that we would expect life threatening injuries, but they are too high in our opinion to get “Good” ratings for those body regions,” said Dave Zuby with IIHS.
The tests results apply to Tesla Model S cars built since October, and not all of these vehicles have had the software activated to allow them to make emergency stops.
When asked to comment on the results, Tesla said in a statement “we are committed to making the world’s safest cars, and Model S has previously received a 5-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a 5-star rating from Euro NCAP. Model S still has the lowest ever probability of injury of any car ever tested by NHTSA.”
Meanwhile, the BMW i3 was rated “acceptable” and “not good” on head restraints and seat safety.
Tesla also said it is trying to develop updates to make its vehicles even safer.