Tesla Model 3 receives Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has released the results of its crash tests for the Tesla Model 3, and just like other safety agencies in the US and abroad, the organization has granted the all-electric sedan its highest rating available. In a recent announcement, the IIHS has revealed that the Tesla Model 3 qualifies for its Top Safety Pick+ award. 

The IIHS notes that to earn the Top Safety Pick+ award, a vehicle must get good ratings in the driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests. Good ratings are also required in the passenger-side small overlap test and the headlight evaluation, the latter proving to be a tricky metric that is rarely aced by carmakers. 

The Model 3 earned good ratings across the board for crashworthiness, with the vehicle’s front crash prevention system getting a superior rating after successfully avoiding collisions in both the 12 mph and 25 mph track tests. The Model 3’s strong frame also allowed the vehicle to perform well in challenging tests such as the driver-side small overlap front test. Additionally, the Model 3’s headlights received a good rating for being bright enough without causing glare to other drivers. 

The Tesla Model 3 being tested by the IIHS. (Credit: IIHS)

With its results, the Tesla Model 3 joins the all-electric Audi e-tron and the hydrogen-powered Hyundai Nexo as the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick+ vehicles for 2019. Speaking about these results, IIHS Chief Research Officer David Zuby remarked that the stellar safety performance of these vehicles proves that cars with alternative powertrains do not compromise in terms of safety. “Vehicles with alternative powertrains have come into their own. There’s no need to trade away safety for a lower carbon footprint when choosing a vehicle,” he said. 

In a blog post, Tesla explained that the Model 3’s Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS is due to the vehicle’s all-electric structural and powertrain design, which gives the car a low center of gravity that reduces rollover risk while protecting occupants in the event of a crash. Of course, the absence of an engine results in a generous crumple zone in front of the Model 3, which absorbs energy more effectively during a collision. The Model 3’s glass roof also proved very strong, resisting more than 20,000 pounds of force.

Apart from receiving the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick+ rating, the Tesla Model 3 has also earned a 5-Star Safety Rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The all-electric sedan also set new benchmarks in safety at its tests with the European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP), as well as the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP). 

Watch the IIHS’s featurette on the Tesla Model 3’s stellar safety results in the video below.

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Read Tesla’s blog post about the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick+ award for the Model 3 below.

Model 3 Earns the 2019 IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+ Award

We engineer our cars to be the best in the world – in every category. Model 3, our most affordable car yet, is no exception. From the start, we designed it to be among the safest cars ever built, with the goal of getting as many Model 3s on the road as possible to further our mission.

Model 3 has already earned a 5-star safety rating in every category and sub-category from safety authorities on three continents (North AmericaEurope and Australia), and it has received top marks around the world for its advanced safety assistance features like Automatic Emergency Braking.

Now, in new tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), Model 3 has been named a 2019 IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+ vehicle, the highest achievement awarded by the Institute. To evaluate whether Model 3 met the criteria for this top rating, IIHS tested the car’s crashworthiness, occupant protection, crash avoidance, and headlight systems. Model 3 earned top marks in all eight tests, including a superior rating in front crash prevention, which evaluates a car’s Automatic Emergency Braking system, and the highest possible rating in IIHS’ headlight assessment.

Here’s a look at some of the ways we made this happen:

Part of what makes Model 3 so safe is its all-electric powertrain design, which gives the car a low center of gravity that reduces roll-over risk, as well as its rigid aluminum and steel passenger cabin that provides exceptional strength to equally protect drivers and passengers. Additionally, Model 3’s lack of an engine is replaced by a large crumple zone that helps it absorb energy more effectively than a gas car would, dissipating force away from the passenger cabin. This crumple zone contributed to Model 3’s top rating in IIHS’ frontal crash protection tests.

The Institute’s results also demonstrate the exceptional strength of Model 3’s all-glass roof, which is supported by a very strong metal body structure and helps protect occupants in roll-over crashes. During testing, the car’s roof was able to successfully resist more than 20,000 pounds of force – that’s more than if we placed five Model 3s on top of the car’s roof at once. And, the roof earned a higher strength-to-weight ratio score than any other fully electric vehicle that IIHS has ever tested.

In addition, Model 3’s safety restraint system also earned high marks in IIHS’ evaluation. This was due in part to Model 3’s seats, which are designed and manufactured in-house at our dedicated seat factory in Fremont, as well as our thick curtain airbag and uniquely shaped front passenger airbag, which help protect a passenger’s head from the car’s A-pillar and center screen.

In terms of crash mitigation, good headlights can help prevent nighttime crashes, which is why Model 3 comes standard with automatic high and low beam headlights that earned top marks in IIHS testing. And, when it comes to crash prevention, Model 3 earned a superior rating thanks to our Automatic Emergency Braking system, which successfully avoided collisions at both 12 miles per hour and 25 miles per hour.

The safety of our customers is what matters most, which is why our active safety features and passive safety equipment come standard on all of our cars. We’re also committed to making our cars even safer over time via over-the-air updates, helping us ensure that all Tesla drivers have access to the best safety features available for their cars.

Tesla Model 3 receives Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS

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Do oil catch cans really work?

Perhaps you’ve heard oil catch cans, but you don’t know what they actually do. Have no fear because catch cans are the topic in this episode of Engineering Explained.

Not only does host Jason Fenske explain what an oil catch can is, but he looks into if they’re actually worth the extra money, especially for those with modified vehicles.

First, a summary of what catch cans do. In engines with direct injection, blowby of high pressure past the pistons can happen during regular combustion. This pressurizes the crankcase.

Thankfully, smart automakers crafted the positive crankcase ventilation system, which sends the pressure back into the intake manifold. Good stuff, except, it can take oil and other deposits from the blowby with it. Thus, oil and other contaminants can coat the intake valves and that could lead to problems down the road. What a catch can aims to do is route the pressure to the intake manifold and send the oil or other junk within it to the bottom of the catch can.

Next, Jason looks at if oil catch cans really do work. The answer is yes. While a catch can won’t stop every last particle of contaminant from entering the intake manifold and coating the valves in a direct-injection engine, the less unwanted buildup the better. Jason cites a study from the Society of Automotive Engineers that showed buildup on intake valves significantly decreased when contaminants were routed away from the intake manifold. So, yes, a catch can isn’t a bad idea. At a minimum, it’s not a scam.

Finally, Jason looks at the value factor of various catch cans. Some companies sell catch cans for over $200, while others are as cheap as $25. The only major difference Jason found was the the lack of a bronze filter in the cheapest option, which will do a better job of sorting out the contaminates. Aside from the filter, size also increased the price significantly. For those who don’t want to empty out a tiny catch can frequently, the larger units are helpful.

Check out the full explanation in the video above.

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Closer look at Tesla’s early access V10 driving visuals in action

Members of Tesla’s Early Access Program have started sharing some videos of the electric car maker’s upcoming V10 update in action. Among these are improvements to Tesla’s driving visuals, which are poised to get more refined and detailed with the major update’s wide release. 

Unofficial Tesla newsletter group Tesletter, which has access to a vehicle that is part of the Early Access Program, recently shared some images and videos of a Model 3’s V10 driving visuals. In a message to Teslarati, the group remarked that V10’s visual renders have several new capabilities, one of which involves the recognition of broken lane lines on the road. 

Apart from this, vehicles that are part of the V10 Early Access Program can detect and display double yellow lines, as well as monitor incoming traffic that are multiple lanes away. These updates provide a pretty cool representation of what the vehicle sees while it is operating. 

Perhaps most interestingly, V10’s updated driving visuals are also capable of displaying turning cars. A video taken at an intersection shows that some cars are still not rendered accurately, but they do show a pretty remarkable ability to recognize most vehicles in real time. An example of this could be seen below, with a school bus being rendered by the Model 3 as a large block, while other cars such as sedans and SUVs being displayed accurately. 

It’s not just Early Access Program members from North America who have begun sharing some nifty videos of V10’s updated driving visuals. A Chinese EAP user, for one, recently demonstrated how well V10 estimates a vehicle’s lane changing position. Reports from China suggest that the updated driving visuals in V10 are turning out to be a favorite among Tesla owners, as they provide what almost seems to be a teaser at what is to come when the company starts rolling out its Full Self-Driving features. 

Tesla’s Version 10 update is packed full of fun, new features that are designed to enhance the ownership experience, from a cool theater function to a built-in karaoke feature to the introduction of Cuphead, a cool run and gun game. Other unique functions such as the “(I’m Feeling) Lucky/Hungry” feature also add a certain layer of spontaneity to Tesla road trips. What is remarkable is that these generous set of features would likely comprise just part of the V10, as Elon Musk also tweeted about features such as Smart Summon being rolled out to its fleet with the upcoming major update.

Here’s V10’s updated driving visuals displaying double yellow lines.

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Closer look at Tesla’s early access V10 driving visuals in action

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