Auto insurance crash test results weren't what Tesla and BMW wanted
03 February, 2017, 00:53 | Author: Abraham Jackson
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The i3 achieved only an "adequate" score for "head restraints & seats", which prevented the vehicle from achieving the top score and the Model S achieved only an "adequate" score in the "small overlap front" crash test. The Elon Musk company insists that the Models S was previously awarded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with a 5-star safety rating as well as by the European New Car Assessment Programm. The "plus" is given to vehicles that meet all those criteria and also have good or acceptable headlights.
The issue was the seatbelt which failed to restraint the dummy's head from hitting the steering wheel. The vehicle only received an "acceptable" rating. The Model S didn't get the grade because of Acceptable rating in the small overlap front crash test, though the rating applies only to models built until January 23, 2017 as Tesla has committed to a production change.
The government hasn't yet reported crash-test results for the i3.
Despite growing interest in autonomous cars - vehicles that could potentially disrupt the auto insurance space due to their improved safety performance - it would seem that some current hi-tech vehicles still have a way to go before they can meet the leading safety standards. The rating is based on a strength-to-weight ratio. The result of this test, in which the vehicle collides with a rigid barrier at 40 miles per hour, led the group to downgrade Model S despite its body structure performing well enough for a good rating. Although each Model S has the hardware for forward crash prevention, Tesla hasn't yet activated the software for all of its vehicles.
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Tesla also indicated that it's working to improve its headlights, which were given a poor rating for all 2017 Tesla Model S versions. In both cases, there's room for some improvement, the IIHS says.
The BMW i3, a small electric city vehicle, was rated "acceptable" and "not good" on head restraints and seat safety. While such injuries are rarely fatal, they are the most common type of crash injury and can cause debilitating pain. The system reduced the impact speed by an average of 9 mph in the 12 mph track test and by 7 mph in the 25 mph test. An optional front protection system, when fitted, nudges the i3 into the "advanced" rating.
This Sept. 20, 2016, photo provided by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows a 2017 BMW i3 before crash safety testing. It is a unusual oversight - the i3 is the only small auto that IIHS has tested that didn't earn a good rating in this category for 2017. They can be just as safe as any other vehicle on the road.
The group recently gave the Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius Prime its top scores, Top Safety Pick Plus, to the two plug in hybrids.
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