Tesla Model Y fast-selling crossover has received the highest safety score of any car analyzed under Euro NCAP’s newest and toughest test. Tesla 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% of Child Occupant
- 82% of Vulnerable Road Users (pedestrians)
Euro NCAP is the European New Car Assessment Program, originally started by the UK government but now associated with multiple nations as well as the European Union. It tests for frontal impact, lateral impact, and rear hits, as well as 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 (is the driver paying attention? or falling asleep?), and collision avoidance systems such as autonomous emergency braking and forward collision warnings.
Note, however, that the vulnerable road user’s score is based on if a car hits a pedestrian or cyclist. Avoiding them is clearly much preferable, and the Model Y apparently does that well.
“The Model Y camera-only Vision system performs remarkably well in preventing collisions with other cars, cyclists and pedestrians,” Euro NCAP says.
Tesla Model Y nearest competitors in safety include Lexus, Subaru, Mercedes, quite a few Mercedes-Benz models, several Chinese brands, and another EV competitor.
- Tesla Model Y: 92%
- Lexus NX: 89%
- Subaru Outback: 89%
- Genesis G80: 88%
- Wey Coffee 01: 88%
- Mercedes EQ EQS: 88%
- Nissan Qashqai: 88%
- Polestar 2: 88%
- Mercedes T-Class: 87%
- Mercedes C-Class: 87%
“We’ve seen good results from some Chinese manufacturers in the past, but also some very poor ones,” Euro NCAP’s Secretary General, Michiel van Ratingen, said in a statement. “This year, Euro NCAP will test more Chinese cars than it has ever done and Great Wall really sets the standard for others to follow. Also, congratulations to Tesla Model Y for a truly outstanding, record-breaking Model Y rating. Tesla has shown that nothing but the best is good enough for them, and we hope to see them continue to aspire to that goal in the future.”
According to Tesla, the factors contributing 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.
Full disclosure: I drive a Tesla Model Y, and I can attest that it has prevented a number of possible accidents via its safety alerts about slowing cars ahead.
Tesla Model Y has not been shy about touting the results and highlighting that its vision-only system — no radar, no lidar — is sufficient, in its opinion for full safe operation. And, of course, for autonomous operation: Full Self Driving, in Tesla jargon.
“The Model Y camera-only Vision system performs remarkably well in preventing collisions with other cars, cyclists and pedestrians,” Euro NCAP said.
That may be the case for safety. 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.
“Our team is dedicated to improving driving safety,” Tesla said in a blog post. “Achieving some of the highest safety scores ever awarded doesn’t give us pause—it motivates us to make some of the world’s safest vehicles even safer.”