The Tesla Model Y has earned five-star crash safety ratings in all categories and subcategories from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
The Model Y had a significant challenge ahead of itself, with Tesla keeping five-star scores for its other three currently-produced vehicles. Tesla’s compact SUV, however, held the five-star ranking tradition alive by winning the perfect grade in the NHTSA’s Frontal Accident, Side Crash, and Rollover evaluations.
Safety has always been Tesla’s priority, and since the Model S rolled out in 2012, the company has highlighted its reputation for well-above-average collision ratings. One of the most fascinating aspects about Tesla’s dedication to safety is that it still searches for ways to make cars safer by changes in engineering and design after the company has won so many top safety awards and ratings.
In many respects, the Model Y was a masterpiece of industrial production. Over the past few years, Tesla has concentrated on manufacturing efficiencies to assist scale production of its vehicles, and one of the most noticeable ways is through a casting machine that the company uses to minimize the number of parts in the body of the vehicle.
In an interview with Ryan McCaffrey of the Ride the Lightning podcast, CEO Elon Musk outlined the significance of the casting machine.
“When we get the big casting machine, it’ll go from 70 parts to 1 with a significant reduction in capital expenditure on all the robots to put those parts together.”
The reduction in parts not only reduces production time and removes unwanted parts from the design of the car. It also increases the overall structural integrity of the vehicle. The automotive industry veteran showed last year in Sandy Munro’s teardown of the Model Y, that Tesla added a range of welding upgrades, foam reinforcements, and a “aluminum crush plate” to the Model Y in an attempt to enhance its already impressive safety rating.
Because of its potential to save owners maybe hundreds of dollars in the event of an accident, the crush plate was what amazed Munro the most. “If I hit a pole, it will cost me a few bucks, but it won’t cost me the whole damn car,” joked Munro.
The NHTSA also praised the Model Y for equipping all of the “Recommended Safety Technologies,” which include Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and Automatic Emergency Braking, even after the vehicle had already proven its safety with the results of the three crash tests. Tesla is one of only two companies to fulfill the wish of the NHTSA for all car manufacturers to equip AEB systems with vehicles to avoid accidents or reduce their severity. Volvo is the other.
The Model Y crash test video from the NHTSA is available below thanks to RealSafeCars on YouTube.
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