Raise the Roof: Tesla's attention to vehicle safety is above the rest
A Tesla Model 3 recently went through a staggering real-world test of its safety. While a Tesla owner was driving friends to their wedding, a tree fell on their car. In turn, everyone got out of the vehicle without injuries. Perhaps some of this was good luck but plenty of credit should go directly to Tesla's engineers for their ongoing attention to vehicle safety.
Above: Tesla's design approach in order to maximize safety (Source: Tesla)
Sam Fursey, the owner and driver of this particular Tesla Model 3, posted a short video of this frightening event on his YouTube channel. It turns out that this video clip was recorded through the dashcam of another friend’s car chasing behind.
Despite having a glass roof, Fursey's Tesla showed exceptional resistance to such a massive amount of weight falling unexpectedly on his Model 3. The cabin of the car stayed intact and the impact didn't impede on the occupants of the vehicle.
Above: The Tesla Model 3 roof after this tree fell on it (Source: Sam Fursey / YouTube)
The Model 3 owner shared the story of this crazy event in the description of his YouTube video: "Large section of an old tree fell directly on my car, right above the driver’s seat. I was driving my best friend and his fiancé to their wedding. The footage is from the dash cam of the car behind us, driven by one of the bridesmaids. We all walked away… thank you higher powers, and Tesla engineers," explains Fursey.
Besides on their mission to expedite electrification in the auto sector, Tesla also happens to be obsessed with safety. In 2018, NHTSA awarded Tesla Model 3 the highest 5-star rating possible in its crash test results. But the results also crowned Model 3 as the car with the lowest probability of injury that NHTSA has ever tested — and this holds true even after 3 years today.
Above: Tesla Model 3 has the lowest probability of injury of any vehicle tested by the NHTSA (Source: Tesla)
The United States Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also tested a Tesla Model 3 in 2019 and tested the vehicle’s glass roof by pressing it with 20,835 lbs (9,450 kg) of peak force. IIHS found out that the roof strength of the Tesla Model 3 should get the maximum safety rating.
In this case, the weight of the large tree trunk that fell on this Tesla Model 3 is thought to be around 2,000 lbs. But adding the kinetic energy while the tree was falling, the force could be much more than 2,000 lbs.
Video: Tesla Model 3 IIHS crash test results related to roof strength (Source: IIHS)
Last year, TeslaOracle reported an accident from China that involved a Model 3 getting rolled over multiple times — yet the glass roof still didn't collapse. My colleague over at CleanTechnica, Johanna Crider also recently posted an article on how the occupants of two Teslas survived after the cars fell off a cliff.
Interestingly, Tesla holds itself to a higher standard — it doesn't rely solely on crash results from different authorities. The automaker has its own dedicated crash lab for R&D and testing. The glass used in all Teslas is made in-house using technology internal teams have developed as a result of their own research.
Let’s watch what happened, in a flash, during the accident. Everyone got out of the incident safely, and that’s the truly the amazing part of this story.