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IIHS Small Overlap Front Crash Test (2nd Attempt): Only Acceptable again.

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Spidy, Jul 5, 2017.

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  1. Spidy

    Spidy Active Member

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    #1 Spidy, Jul 5, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 6, 2017
    February 1, 2017 - The Model S, a large luxury sedan, earns good ratings in all IIHS crashworthiness evaluations except the challenging small overlap front crash test, in which it earns an acceptable rating. [...]
    Tesla says it made a production change on Jan. 23 to address the head-contact problem, and IIHS will test the updated vehicle for small overlap protection as soon as it can be delivered.
    Two electric cars miss IIHS awards

    Click to expand...​

    2017 Tesla Model S (models built after January 2017) 40 mph small overlap IIHS crash test




    Three large cars win top award from IIHS (Lincoln Continental, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the Toyota Avalon)




    Tesla Model S part:
    The Tesla Model S initially had earned an acceptable rating in the small overlap test, which represents the type of crash that occurs when the front driver-side corner of a vehicle hits a tree or utility pole or collides with another vehicle. The main problem with the performance of the Model S was that the safety belt let the dummy's torso move too far forward, allowing the dummy's head to strike the steering wheel hard through the airbag.

    Tesla made changes to the safety belt in vehicles built after January with the intent of reducing the dummy's forward movement. However, when IIHS tested the modified Model S, the same problem occurred, and the rating didn't change.

    Although the two tested vehicles had identical structure, the second test resulted in greater intrusion into the driver's space because the left front wheel movement wasn't consistent.
    Maximum intrusion increased from less than 2 inches to 11 inches in the lower part and to 5 inches at the instrument panel in the second test. The first test resulted in a good rating for structural integrity, while the second test resulted in an acceptable structural rating. The two tests' structural ratings were combined, resulting in acceptable structure and an acceptable rating overall for the Model S.

    The greater deformation in the second test also resulted in damage to the left front corner of the battery case. The deformation was limited to an area that didn't contain battery cells in the tested vehicle, so this damage didn't affect the rating. Higher-performance variants of the Model S could have battery cells in this area, but, according to Tesla, they also have different structure. They haven't been tested separately and aren't covered by this rating.

    The Model S is only available with headlights that earn a poor rating and hasn't been rated yet for front crash prevention. While automatic braking comes standard, the software for the feature was only recently activated.
    Click to expand...​
     
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  2. oktane

    oktane Active Member

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    Sorry Tesla, you fail again. I am not impressed.
     
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  3. Swift

    Swift Member

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    Not good. And the headlights are really bad.
     
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  4. David L

    David L Member

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    The small overlap crash is a challenging test. I remember when it was first introduced and a large number of high volume, mainstream models failed miserably. Since then, I've been wary of purchasing a new model before IIHS completes the test. That said, I hope IIHS tests the Model 3 before a large number of us early reservation holders start getting our cars in Dec. '17 to Jan. '18.
     
  5. Spidy

    Spidy Active Member

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    Tesla Model S Misses Top Safety Pick+ In Latest Crash Test of 6 Large Cars

    Tesla statement.
    Pretty lame excuse in my opinion. It's not like this is about a similar test at a different speed or using a different methodology, the small frontal overlap test is simply simulates a different type of accident. I don't see how this isn't objective. I personally kinda doubt that these straight on small overlap crashes are as common as the IIHS claims, but they are certainly a reality. With all the other ratings being good the IIHS basically confirms the NHTSA, but ads that in this type of accident the car isn't good, but just acceptable.
     
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  6. trils0n

    trils0n 2013 P85

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    What would cause such a large change in crash results? From <2 inches intrusion to 11 inches seems like a lot of variance for "identical structure". Is there usually such a large margin of error in crash tests?
     
  7. BioSehnsucht

    BioSehnsucht Member

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    What's the deal with headlights? Is this a pedestrian safety thing? I have a hard time believing it affects occupant safety during a crash ...
     
  8. FlatSix911

    FlatSix911 918 Hybrid

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    Two electric cars miss IIHS awards

    The Model S, a large luxury sedan, earns good ratings in all IIHS crashworthiness evaluations except the challenging small overlap front crash test, in which it earns an acceptable rating. Despite lengthening the side curtain airbags to improve small overlap protection in the Model S, Tesla ran into problems in the test when the safety belt allowed the dummy's torso to move too far forward. That allowed the dummy's head to hit the steering wheel hard through the airbag. Measurements from the dummy indicated that injuries to the head, along with the lower right leg, would be possible in a real-world crash of the same severity.

    The ratings for the Model S apply to 2016 and 2017 cars built after October 2016. Tesla says it made a production change on Jan. 23 to address the head-contact problem, and IIHS will test the updated vehicle for small overlap protection as soon as it can be delivered.

    The 2017 Model S isn't available with anything other than poor-rated headlights. Tesla says it is working with its supplier to improve the headlights, and IIHS will evaluate the new ones when they are available.


    upload_2017-7-6_0-37-13.png
     

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  9. Spidy

    Spidy Active Member

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    It's not about the crash itself, but rather preventing a crash in the first place.

    Headlight evaluation
     
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  10. bhzmark

    bhzmark Supporting Member

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    What might be the problem is that the Tesla battery pack prevents the car from having more of a glancing blow on the overlap test and instead the battery part that sticks out after the front wheel hooks onto the overlap and stops the car completely from forward motion.
     
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  11. EugeneTW

    EugeneTW New Member

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    I myself, a TAIWAN ms owner, encountered the accident with wheel broke tire burst costs me half a model 3 price to fixed my model s. The IIHS small overlap test is what happened with my model s. The wheel should be checked and recalled. The ms is so heavy and the design of suspension and wheel didn't reflect the required strength to the weight.
     
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  12. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

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    That is unfortunate that their changes didn't help the test results. I am guessing it will take a fairly major redesign to correct whatever it is causing them to not do well on the test.


    It is also disappointing to see them dismiss the test after they went to some length to make corrections and re-test. I can't imagine the IIHS has some agenda against Tesla in particular or anything.

    In a statement to CNBC, a Tesla rep said: "Tesla's Model S received the highest rating in IIHS's crash testing in every category except for one, the small overlap front crash test, where it received the second highest rating available. While IIHS and dozens of other private industry groups around the world have methods and motivations that suit their own subjective purposes, the most objective and accurate independent testing of vehicle safety is currently done by the U.S. government, which found Model S and Model X to be the two cars with the lowest probability of injury of any cars that it has ever tested, making them the safest cars in history."

    I never bought into the safest car ever hype, but this seems a little over the top. "Safest cars in history", just not on the EuroNCAP or the IIHS tests. I am pretty sure there are other models that did well on all 3 tests (like the E-class). Interestingly, they had the same dummy bottoming out the airbag issue on the EuroNCAP test - just with the passenger not the driver. Official Tesla Model S 2014 safety rating results
     
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  13. MS16

    MS16 Member

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    Even this statement from Tesla isn't completely accurate since the 100D only gets an Acceptable rating in the IIHS Roof Strength Test.

    IIHS on Model S Roof Strength "Rating does not apply to Model S P100D. Rating of this model is Acceptable."
     
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  14. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

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    "IIHS was founded in 1959 by three major insurance associations representing 80 percent of the U.S. auto insurance market."

    About the Institutes | IIHS

    I will not comment on the small overlap test, other than to point out that that test is focused on a type of crash that produces high losses for insurance companies.

    IIHS , as befits it's history and mission, has a laser-like focus on increasing the apparent risks of expensive, exotic and/or high performance cars. Their mission is almost entirely based on getting the highest rates for vehicles whose operators can afford them. Most of the time they seem to be fairly objective, but, if any builders uses unusual materials (e.g. Fiberglass in the 1950's, aluminum recently) they really diss the innovator.

    For Tesla there is an undeniable tendency to total the car rather than repair because the insurer does not want to deal with BEV issues. The Ford F-150 has paid the price for aluminum. More such distinctions are coming as the industry moves towards greater efficiency. 48v electrics, more technologically intensive hybrid and BEV. All of those will generate the ire of IIHS.

    Agenda bias is a part of life. I don't want to write off IIHS completely. However, they are concerned about loss frequency and loss severity and nothing else. If loss severity is high, as it is with S and X, IIHS will try hard to find problems.

    It's human nature to favor the people who are paying your bills, isn't it?
     
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  15. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

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  16. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Active Member

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    This is not overly surprising. The Model S is a 5 year old design at this point. This test was introduced in 2012, and therefore the S was probably not designed with it in mind. Car safety moves very quickly, and the fact that its no longer the safest car should be expected. The three other cars that did better are all brand new.
     
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  17. Olle

    Olle Member

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    Ever since I saw the first MS display 'skateboard' in the Tesla store I have been wondering why the front bumper was so narrow compared to the car, would this be sufficient in an overlap crash?
    upload_2017-7-6_10-31-56.png
    Any experts here? Would be interested to hear how you think the car would behave if inner bumper reinforcement reached all the way out?
     
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  18. Olle

    Olle Member

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    One can imagine that a minimal difference in approach angle of the wheel will be magnified once the wheel is fully crumbled up against the back of the wheel well and thus yield different results.
     
  19. mongo

    mongo Member

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    Interesting observation, thanks for posting the video links. It looks like the car crumples until the barrier contacts the battery pack. At that point, there is a large deceleration and the vehicle pivots around the contact point.

    Comparing the two videos, it seems like the 2017 seat belt is not working. Even if the pretensioner is weak, the belt should still lock when extended quickly. Instead, it seems to just extending with the dummy (0:37 shows belt pulled out).
     
  20. Petra

    Petra Member

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    As I recall, Volvo passed the small overlap test earning a 'good' rating with what was basically a 10 year old design at the time (XC90). Just saying...

    Also, based on Tesla's statement about the results (and other recent public statements), they really need to get their paranoia in check... it's not a good look.
     
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