The Tesla Model Y has received the highest safety score of any car analyzed under Euro NCAP’s newest and toughest test. The Model Y achieved a 92% score, while its nearest competitors top out at 89%. According to the results, the Model Y scored: 97% in Adult Occupant Protection, 98% in Safety Assist, 87% in Child Occupant, and 82% in Vulnerable Road Users (pedestrians).
Euro NCAP is the European New Car Assessment Program, which tests for frontal impact, lateral impact, and rear hits, as well child safety features, and how severe impacts on pedestrians or cyclists are likely to be. Euro NCAP also tests for safety assist features such as lane keeping, speed assistance, occupant status monitoring, and collision avoidance systems such as autonomous emergency braking and forward collision warnings.
The Tesla Model Y’s nearest competitors in safety include Lexus, Subaru, Mercedes, quite a few Mercedes-Benz models, several Chinese brands, and another EV competitor. However, it’s worth noting that the vulnerable road users score is based on if a car hits a pedestrian or cyclist, and avoiding them is clearly much preferable. Tesla’s Model Y apparently does that well, according to Euro NCAP, which states, “The Model Y camera-only Vision system performs remarkably well in preventing collisions with other cars, cyclists and pedestrians.”
The factors that contributed to the high score include manufacturing techniques for casting the rear underbody in one large piece and its strengthened battery pack, which “provides immense crash strength to the safety cell, helping to maintain compartment integrity.” The company also points to mid-cabin airbags that deploy between the front seats, helping occupants to avoid hurting themselves by hitting each other.
Tesla has not been shy about touting the results and highlighting that its vision-only system is sufficient, in its opinion, for full safe operation. However, the jury is still out on whether Tesla can achieve full autonomous capability only with vision systems. Phantom braking, when the car decelerates significantly due to a faulty assessment of risk, is still a problem in the Tesla Autopilot and self-driving systems.
Overall, the Tesla Model Y’s high safety score is a testament to the company’s dedication to improving driving safety and its ability to create some of the world’s safest vehicles. This is especially noteworthy as the industry is moving towards autonomous driving, where safety is of paramount importance.