Tesla Mannequin Three Can Survive a Crash—and Keep away from One, Too



The primary week of July is shaping as much as be one for Tesla. On Tuesday, Elon Musk’s automaker introduced the outcomes of an incredible second quarter: Tesla delivered about 95,200 automobiles between April and June, a brand new quarterly file for the corporate and a bounce of greater than 50 p.c from a sluggish first quarter. The automaker’s inventory surged in after-hours buying and selling. “Congratulations Tesla group & because of all the brand new Tesla homeowners!! :hearts::hearts:” Musk tweeted.

Alex Davies covers autonomous automobiles and different transportation machines for WIRED.

The Mannequin Three accounted for roughly 80 p.c of these deliveries, and now Tesla has but extra tidings to have a good time: On Wednesday, Thatcham Analysis introduced that the electrical sedan is likely one of the most secure automobiles in Europe, particularly on the subject of avoiding crashes.

In a brand new spherical of testing, Thatcham, a British nonprofit that assesses automobile security, awarded the Mannequin Three its highest score of 5 stars. In crash testing, which Thatcham administers in response to requirements set by the European New Automobile Evaluation Programme, the Mannequin Three posted a 96 p.c rating for the way it protects adults. It obtained an 86 for retaining children protected, and 74 for the way it treats “weak highway customers” like pedestrians. (That final take a look at entails firing what appears to be like like a half-bowling ball, supposed to simulate a pedestrian’s head, into the windshield at 25 mph, then inspecting how the automobile absorbs the power of the affect.)

The Mannequin Three secured an ideal five-star security score from the UK’s Thatcham Analysis, utilizing exams developed by the European New Automobile Evaluation Programme.

Good crash rankings are nothing new for Tesla. Security consultants within the US and Europe have praised the automaker for making a structurally sound automotive by profiting from its electrical powertrain. The dearth of a giant engine let Musk’s engineers make the entrance of the automotive into an particularly efficient crumple zone. The battery that types the ground of the automobile improves the automotive’s rigidity and retains the middle of gravity low, decreasing the danger of a rollover. Final 12 months, the US Division of Transportation’s Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration gave the Mannequin Three 5 out of 5 stars. Tesla’s Mannequin S sedan and Mannequin X SUV have posted related scores previously.

What stands out within the new European outcomes is not only that the Mannequin Three can take a beating, however that it will possibly keep away from one. Of the six automobiles that earned 5 stars, the Mannequin Three is the one one with a “security help” rating over 80 p.c. Its 94 p.c is among the many highest scores ever seen on a take a look at for that class.

Security help is one other means of claiming lively security. The place passive security methods like seat belts, air baggage, and crumple zones mitigate crash injury, lively security methods work to keep away from the collision within the first place. Thatcham’s exams right here embody assessments of the automotive’s digital stability management and whether or not it warns drivers about extreme pace. Video of the Mannequin 3’s examination exhibits its computerized emergency braking system stopping it from crashing into an inflatable automotive whereas shifting 50 and 75 kilometers per hour (31 and 47 mph). Whereas driving at completely different speeds, the Mannequin Three stops earlier than hitting mock pedestrians and cyclists, together with these crossing in entrance of it, each in daylight and at night time. Its lane-keeping system retains it between the dotted white strains. “Its Collision Avoidance Help system is first-class,” Matthew Avery, Thatcham’s director of analysis, mentioned in a press release.

The Mannequin 3’s all-electric powertrain let Tesla’s designers create a construction that performs particularly properly in crashes.

Euro NCAP

Thatcham didn’t assess Tesla’s Autopilot, the favored semi-autonomous characteristic that retains the automotive in its lane and a protected distance from the automobile forward (it will possibly additionally change lanes). For years, critics have lambasted Tesla—and Musk himself particularly—for presenting the system as extra succesful than it’s. Whereas the corporate has repeatedly insisted drivers ought to preserve their fingers on the wheel, Musk has appeared on 60 Minutes utilizing the characteristic together with his fingers over his abdomen. In the meantime, Tesla’s system for detecting if the motive force’s paying consideration—a torque sensor within the steering wheel—is rudimentary in comparison with the gaze-tracking setups utilized by Cadillac and Audi. And paying consideration is significant, because the system isn’t excellent, and isn’t designed to identify obstacles like stopped fireplace vans. At the very least 4 drivers have died in crashes involving Autopilot.

Thatcham is at present investigating how this type of semi-autonomous characteristic could be applied safely and expects to publish its findings in September. Till then, although, Tesla can head into a vacation weekend with excellent news on its facet.


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