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Tesla Model S At Bottom of IIHS Test Results – Again

For the second time, the Tesla Model S is at the bottom of the safety list among its peers.

The Tesla Model S has been retested for safety by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). For the second time, it is at the bottom of the list among its peers. This time, the Model S was tested after Tesla made changes to the vehicle, hoping it would earn a rating high enough to put it on par with cars like the Toyota Prius Prime and Chevy Volt, both of which earn the IIHS’ highest rating of Top Safety Pick Plus. The changes did not change the Model S’ ranking.

When it was tested earlier in the year, the Model S could not earn a score of Good on the small frontal overlap test. The dummy’s head struck the steering wheel hard, missing the airbags. Tesla’s made changes hoping to resolve that problem, but this time, the front wheel intruded too far into the driver’s space. The Model S’ score of Acceptable is unchanged. The dummy's head also still hit the steering wheel too hard for a top score.

Tesla has also had a spotty record with regard to automatic emergency braking (AEB). Despite its hype over autopilot, Tesla was one of the last automakers to adopt AEB, and as recently as six months ago, was shipping cars without it.
Tesla recently added the system back, but just for low-speed operation.

Tesla didn’t bother to update its headlights for the new round of testing so it was never in contention to earn the Top Safety Pick Plus rating, something cars like the $20K Toyota Corolla routinely earn. The first time the Tesla Model S was tested, it was ranked last among EVs including the Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius Prime, and BMW i3. The Chevy Bolt has since earned top crash scores as well. In the latest test, the Tesla Model S was last among large cars, including the Lincoln Continental, Mercedes E-Class, Toyota Avalon, and Chevy Impala.

Tesla’s safety history has been followed closely by Torque News. For prior stories highlighting Tesla's lack of safety systems, please see these prior stories:
- Deaths in Tesla Model S crash might have been prevented by common safety system
- Three common safety features Tesla Model S must add now