New crash tests show that Tesla (TSLA)’s Model 3 and Audi’s e-Tron are better equipped for road safety. However, IIHS doesn’t intend to reach conclusions so soon.
What did the results show?
The tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) included three electric vehicles– the Hyundai Nexo, Audi e-Ton and Tesla Model 3. The three cars aimed for the Top Safety Pick+ designation.
For Tesla, the award comes at a crucial time, especially since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been critical of the company. It even asked Tesla to avoid making misleading statements about vehicular safety. The IIHS award, which is a first for Tesla, could help remove some apprehensions about their cars.
Model 3 previously received a five-star rating on vehicular safety from the NHTSA. The company later wrote in a blog that their cars have the lowest probability for injury. The NHTSA, however, had never made these claims about the cars. It ended up sending a cease-and-desist letter to company CEO Elon Musk and forwarded the issue to the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection.
The IIHS is not impressed, yet
While Audi and Tesla’s vehicles scored highly in crash tests, they don’t want to jump to conclusions too soon. According to David Zuby, the test results don’t show that EVs are “inherently” better for road safety. He said that the smaller motors of such cars could be responsible behind the lesser number of crashes.
“The fact that an electric vehicle generally has smaller motors than an internal combustion engine and the fact that the battery can be placed in a variety of places, maybe with more flexibility than a gas tank, does provide the potential to make electric vehicles safer, or at least as safe if not safer than traditional vehicles.”
They also tested Chevrolet Bolt, which earned the “good” rating in just one of the tests. This was because the car’s headlights did not meet the safety standards. IIHS chief research officer David Zuby, the car’s headlight produced excessive glare. Though the car’s light is great for the drivers, the glare could cause visibility problems for the oncoming drivers.
However, GM spokesman Chad Lyons disagreed with the statements. The car, according to him, exceeds the Society of Automotive Engineers standards. He also said that the headlights “meet or exceed” the all federal motor vehicle safety standards related to lighting.