Tesla Model Y earns five-star rating from European safety agency

Tesla extended its five-star rating streak in Europe with the Model Y, the company announced. The electric crossover SUV earned top marks during safety tests conducted by the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP), receiving the highest overall score among any vehicle tested under the agency’s more stringent test protocol.

The testing measures four areas: the vehicle’s ability to protect adults; its ability to protect children; the protection it provides vulnerable road users like cyclists and pedestrians; and its safety assistance features. The Model Y, made at Tesla’s new gigafactory in Berlin, scored a 97 percent in Adult Occupant Protection and a “near-perfect” 98 percent in Safety Assist, with full points for its lane support and new cabin camera-based driver monitoring system, Euro NCAP reports.

The agency also commended Tesla for its camera-only vision system, which it said “performs remarkably well” in preventing collisions with other cars, cyclists, and pedestrians.

“Tesla have 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,” Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP’s secretary general, said in a statement.

Tesla has historically achieved high safety ratings thanks to its underlying architecture, which makes the car more rigid and better protects passengers. The location of the battery in the floor of the vehicle also gives the Model Y and other Tesla vehicles a lower center of gravity, which improves road stability and decreases the chances of a rollover. Tesla’s other three vehicles, the Model S, Model X, and Model 3, have also earned five-star ratings from Euro NCAP.

“Our team is dedicated to improving driving safety,” the company 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.”

In the US, it’s the same story. All four of Tesla’s vehicles have earned five-star ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the most recent going to the Model Y in 2021. NHTSA grades cars on a variety of crash test metrics, including frontal crashes (with subcategories for both the driver and passenger seats), side crashes (for crashes into both a barrier and a pole), and rollover scenarios — but not pedestrian and cyclist safety and not driver-assist technology (though that will soon change).

Notably, neither Euro NCAP nor NHTSA includes Tesla’s two driver-assist systems — Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) — in its testing protocols. Euro NCAP does take into account the automatic emergency braking system (AEB) and the lane-keep assist that prevents drivers from unintentionally drifting into another lane.

NHTSA is currently investigating nearly three dozen incidents in the US involving Autopilot. Earlier this year, the agency upgraded its probe into a dozen crashes involving stationary emergency vehicles, bringing Tesla one step closer to a possible recall. Tesla has yet to obtain regulatory approval for FSD in the European Union, which has a much higher bar to clear than the US.

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