How Tesla Vehicles Are Tested: Tesla has gone from producing niche sports cars to mass-market saloons, and with SUVs and more affordable options, it’s easy to see how the company is now producing nearly half a million vehicles each year.
However, increasing production is not limited to assembling more and more vehicles. From transportation and logistics to testing, everything has to be ramped up, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing today.
The company claims its electric cars are the “safest car in the world,” but what evidence do Tesla and CEO Elon Musk have for that bold claim? In this article, we’ll look at the different aspects of testing, but ultimately, they’re all based on two fundamental principles: safety and reliability.
The company emphasizes three important features that make its cars so safe, and they are a combination of active safety technology, passive safety technology, and automatic driver assistance systems, all of which have been put through rigorous testing to ensure ultimate performance.
Simply put, proactive safety refers to a set of features that take steps to help prevent a crash in the first place, such as electronic stability control and electronic brake-force distribution.
Passive safety comes into play in the event of a collision and includes things like secure seats and headrests, airbags, child seat mounting points, and seatbelt pre-tensioners.
Automatic driver assistance systems are a bit difficult to define because they run along the line that separates this category from active safety technology. In general, these can include lane and blind-spot monitoring systems, adaptive cruise control, and, in the case of Tesla, evasive steering.
All three of its main cars – the Model S, Model X, and the new Model 3 – had the lowest potential for injury of any car when tested by the ‘US New Car Assessment Program’ and after crossing the pond. , similarly achieved. An impressive five-star rating in extremely rigorous ‘Euro NCAP‘ testing.
These tests see a number of production cars thrown over obstacles at various angles and speeds, filled with dummies representing men, women, and children as passengers.
The Model 3 achieved one of the highest scores in increasingly stringent European tests, with a rating of 96% for the safety of adult occupants, 86% for the safety of children, 74% for vulnerable road users (such as pedestrians). Also known as in), and its security support system for 94%.
For context, a Volvo S60, a similarly sized saloon car manufactured by a company that prides itself on safety, achieved the following scores, indicating how advanced Tesla’s safety technology can be; Specifically the ‘Security Support System’.
Most electric cars are inherently stiff, benefiting from large crumple zones and a low center of gravity, usually due to the sturdy battery pack located under the cabin.
Applying math and physics to the design of its cars is the first step in Tesla’s engineering and testing the safest cars on the market. But phase two is arguably more important and involves real-world testing.
While most manufacturers charge one sample of a vehicle every two thousand produced for testing, we are told that Tesla charges much more, although there is no exact figure for this. The team is led by Jeff Heckthier, who has worked in the automotive industry for decades.
When he’s not testing cars, he’s sitting in the passenger seat instructing the next generation of testers. The primary facility is located adjacent to the Fremont factory in California; The track dates back to the 1980s when the factory was originally owned by General Motors and Toyota, so it has been altered over the years to provide the best readings and the most accurate scenarios for results.
Hickatier teaches its team to focus on every little thing that the average consumer doesn’t even notice. This may include checking brakes and wheel alignment via feedback from the pedals and steering wheel.
The track includes a length of hard bumps that are designed to rattle cars, exposing loose fittings and fixtures, as well as long, sharp straights for high speed and acceleration testing. Some cars then make their way north until they reach the emptiness of Alaska.
Not far from Delta Junction is a dedicated testing ground, made up of perfectly manicured icy and icy surfaces, as well as an icy handling course, iced hills, and a suitably large skidpad.
Tesla shares the facility with the military, which tests its tanks in extreme weather. It’s not just the on- and off-road stability Tesla tested here, though. The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (often referred to as HVAC) are fine-tuned here to help them perform more efficiently in colder climates, as well as with battery thermal and power management.
The best off-roaders use a locking or limited-slip differential for maximum off-road grip, which allows the right amount of power to be delivered to each wheel. Tesla, on the other hand, uses an open differential, which means that at any given axle spin both wheels at the same rate.
Simply put, the front left wheel may be holding enough, while the front right wheel may spin recklessly in an unsuccessful attempt to gain traction.
Instead of fitting its cars with a more expensive and sophisticated solution that most people won’t even need 99% of the time, the company opted for a cheaper option it calls the e-differential, which uses different types of differentials to prevent unnecessary brakes on separate wheels.
Clever, but not unique; Companies like BMW and Mercedes have been using such systems for years. The final stages of testing may not be what you expect – by this point, the cars are on the roads, in the hands of the general public.
Every single Tesla that has rolled off the production line since the initial Model S is digitally connected, full-time. So far more than a billion miles have been logged and recorded in Autopilot mode alone, helping to develop proactive technology based on real-world scenarios.
Thanks to this, unforeseen events such as other driver errors and unexpected fires have led to new developments. Now, for example, the battery department is isolated to prevent the fire from spreading to other sections, while the heat is ventilated away from the cabin.
Right now, no other manufacturer is doing anything that keeps the electric vehicle maker ahead of the competition. Thanks to this comprehensive and revolutionary test model, it has become nearly impossible to beat the safety score of any Tesla model.
Whether you believe the marketing material or not, it’s clear that Tesla is dedicated to extensive testing, ensuring it makes the safest products. Do you know of any other manufacturers who go to such extremes to test their cars? Let us know in the comments below.
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