Hybrids & Electrics

Tesla Model 3 Awarded “Top Safety Pick +”

The 2019 Tesla Model 3 has been awarded the Top Safety Pick + by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Model 3 and Audi E-Tron are the only EVs to attain that title. “Vehicles with alternative powertrains have come into their own,” says IIHS Chief Research Officer David Zuby. “There’s no need to trade away safety for a lower carbon footprint when choosing a vehicle.”

There are a number of tests each car goes through to qualify for the Top Safety Pick + rating. They include driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side-impact, roof strength, and head restraint tests. For each of those tests, the car must receive a good rating. Also, it must receive a good rating in the passenger-side small overlap test and must have a front crash prevention system with an advanced or superior rating and good-rated headlights.

How The Model 3 Was Rated

In the standard front crash prevention system the Model 3 earned superior ratings for both the 12 mph and 25 mph IIHS track tests. The structure of the Model 3 held up well during the driver-side small overlap front test. Only an eight-inch intrusion around the lower door hinge area could subject the driver’s lower leg to moderate risk of injury. All of the airbags worked properly as did the seatbelt.


Besides the Model 3 and Audi E-Tron the only other non-ICE vehicle to be awarded the Top Safety Pick + is the Hyundai Nexo which is a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. The Nexo is categorized as a Midsize Luxury SUV by the IIHS. The Model 3 is considered a Midsize Luxury Car, and the E-Tron a Large SUV.

Model 3 Safety Issues

The company has gotten into some trouble over safety in the past. Recently Tesla reported the Model 3 had the least chance of all vehicles tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of crashing. The NHTSA sent Tesla a cease-and-desist notice stating among other things that it is against policy guidelines to compare the safety ratings of different vehicles.

Since becoming available in 2017 the Model 3 has become the most popular Tesla model. After a period of limited production by 2018 Tesla had ramped up to building 5,000 cars a week.

Tesla Model 3-Model S Comparison

The Tesla Model 3 is the newest and least expensive vehicle Tesla makes. However, it was supposed to come in at around $35,000. Unfortunately, it retails for a bit over $50,000, and with dual-motor models a bit north of $55,000. MotorBiscuit did a comparison of features between a new Model 3 and used Model S to see which was the better value.

Driving range is 310 miles. Anything at or near that figure is said to be where EV buyers lose their range anxiety concerns and is what most EV manufacturers shoot for.

The next model to come from Tesla will be the Model Y by the fall of 2020. It will be a compact crossover and is expected to become Tesla’s best-selling EV. Tesla says the Model Y will have the capabilities of a racecar packed into an SUV.