With its launch in 2012, Model S set the standard for Tesla vehicle safety: a rigid safety cell, large front and rear crumple zones, and fortified battery pack. It also set a new bar for the automotive industry—in 2014, it was the only vehicle to achieve a 5-star Euro NCAP rating and 5 stars in every NHTSA category.
At Tesla, we have a dual approach to safety engineering, which develops passive and active safety systems in parallel, creating an architecture aimed at both reducing the effects of an accident and helping to avoid it in the first place.
Relentless Improvement Since its release, we’ve continued to make iterative improvements to Model S safety systems. This is due in part to safety test protocols rightfully becoming more stringent year over year, as well as our relentless pursuit of our goal to engineer the safest vehicles on the road. Rather than official yearly releases, we opt to make safety improvements as soon as they are available through updated manufacturing and engineering changes in new vehicles, and through over-the-air updates to existing fleet vehicles. This ensures every customer receives the latest and greatest safety features available throughout our lineup.
Revisiting Euro NCAP Last year, our safety improvement efforts culminated in the release of a new Model S. Following its release, Euro NCAP again reviewed Model S, this time against its newest, most stringent 2020-2022 testing protocol focused on evaluating the vehicle’s ability to protect adults , children and vulnerable road users, as well as its proficiency in crash avoidance and other safety assistance features.
Following this test, Model S again received a 5-star safety rating and the highest Overall Score among any vehicle tested in this protocol. It also performed exceptionally well in more detailed tests across the board:
98% in Safety Assist.
91% in Child Occupant Protection.
94% in Adult Occupant Protection.
Maximum points awarded in Far-Side Impact subsection.
Maximum points awarded in Rescue, Extraction and Post-Crash Safety subsection.
These ratings are in part thanks to new safety features that now come standard in all new Model S vehicles:
Collision Avoidance Driver Monitoring System: Uses direct monitoring to detect a distracted driver and automatically adjusts the sensitivity of the Forward Collision Warning system to be more reactive.
Advanced Front-Structure Castings: Using our expertise in large castings, we developed an all-new front structure that absorbs maximum energy and reduces occupant acceleration.
Automatic Airbag Suppression: Distinguishes between humans and child-seats in the front passenger seat; if a child-seat is detected, the front passenger side airbag is automatically deactivated.
Far-Side Airbag: Provides additional protection during side impacts, particularly when there are two front occupants. This airbag deploys between the front seats to help prevent head injuries that could be caused by occupant-to-occupant contact.
Multi-Collision Braking: Automatically activates the vehicle braking system after a collision to help prevent a secondary impact.
Steering Yoke: The yoke airbag deploys, cushions and restrains the driver without the top section of a traditional steering wheel, while also providing a clear view of the instrument cluster and road ahead. Model S is the first vehicle with a yoke to receive 5 stars from Euro NCAP.
Accident Prevention The best way to protect occupants is to avoid accidents all together.
As noted above, Model S received a score of 98% in the Euro NCAP’s 2022 Safety Assist category, which evaluates the effectiveness of software features in helping to reduce the risk of an accident. This score was achieved with Tesla Vision, our camera vision and neural-net processing system that now comes standard and free of charge in all Tesla vehicles.
Our First Feature Model S—and Plaid in particular—is designed to be the most fun you can have in a car: the fastest acceleration, console-grade in-car gaming, sublime sound and more; however, safety comes before all of that—it’s always our first feature.
With Model S, we aimed to deliver a step-change improvement in safety worthy of an all-new flagship vehicle. And as is the case with all Tesla vehicles, we will continue to make incremental improvements in safety through over-the-air software updates.
While not yet rated, all safety features mentioned above are also available with the new Model X. Deliveries of both vehicles will begin in Europe before the end of the year. Model Y also received a 5-star Euro NCAP rating this year.
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