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Tesla electric vehicles (EVs) are trendsetters in the segment. However, they’re also safe, with some models getting top scores from evaluating agencies like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). So, which Tesla EV gets the better bill of health regarding safety for 2023, the Model 3 or the tenured Model S luxury sedan

What safety scores did the Tesla Model 3 earn?

The Tesla Model 3 earned a Top Safety Pick+ for its crashworthiness and crash avoidance from the IIHS for 2022 and 2023. Moreover, the baby Tesla snagged a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In order to snag the IIHS’ best safety rating, the Model 3 had to get “Good” ratings in every crashworthiness category and high scores in active measures for crash mitigation and avoidance. In fact, the only blemish on the little Tesla EV’s scorecard is an “Acceptable” rating for the usability of the child seat anchors.

Moreover, the Model 3 got “Superior” ratings for its performance in crash prevention. In its evaluations, the Tesla model’s automatic emergency braking system prevented vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian collisions at 12, 25, and 37 mph.  

Why is the Model 3 so safe?

In addition to the Tesla Model 3’s structural soundness and standard safety features, the Model 3 has a design feature that makes it very safe. Specifically, the Model 3’s battery architecture is low within the vehicle, which creates a low center of gravity and resistance to rollover accidents. 

A 2023 Tesla Model 3 uses its safe AWD system to blast down a wet road.
Model 3 | Tesla

Moreover, in the unlikely event of an rollover, the Model 3’s roof strength is outstanding. It will take up to 20,835 lbs of peak force to its roof. For example, a Model 3 saved an occupant in China when a large tree fell on its roof

How safe is the Tesla Model S?

While the NHTSA and IIHS haven’t evaluated the Tesla Model S for 2022 or 2023, the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) gave the luxury EV sedan a five-star rating for its crashworthiness and safety features. 

Moreover, Euro NCAP rated the Model S as one of its “Best in Class Cars of 2022.” Like other Tesla EVs, the Model S uses free space that would otherwise be occupied by an internal combustion engine (ICE) for structural shoring, improving its performance in a crash.  

A 2023 Tesla Model S safely blasts down a desert road.
Model S | Tesla

The 2023 Tesla Model S, like the Model 3, is devoid of a gas-powered ICE engine and the necessary flammable liquids. Moreover, the Model S has a low center of gravity due to its heavy battery architecture, which means it will resist rollovers like other Tesla EVs. 

What safety features are standard on a Tesla?

New Tesla models pack a suite of standard safety features, like blind-spot warning and automatic emergency braking. Moreover, the automaker’s EVs also have lane departure warning and lane-keeping assist technology. 

Although the IIHS and NHTSA haven’t evaluated the Tesla Model S or Model X for years, the Model S’ Euro NCAP scores suggest it’s a safe EV, just like its smaller sibling.


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