Tesla’s Model S failed an emergency brake test performed by a European safety agency.
We’ve long suspected Tesla’s emergency braking system to have a bit of a screw loose, given all the reports of their Autopilot feature failing in spectacular fashion. After all, if the emergency brake system worked, then there wouldn’t be an accident at all, would there?
So it comes as no surprise to hear that the Luxembourg-based testing and standardization authority (ILNAS) performed their own test of the Model S to see how the emergency brake system held up.
Spoiler alert: it didn’t.
For those of you without a newer model car, emergency braking is essentially the car using its forward-looking sensors to see if there’s anything in the way and comparing how far away that something is with how fast the car is going. If the car thinks a collision is imminent, then it automatically slams on the brakes in order to prevent an accident.
All Teslas have emergency braking, including their most recent Model 3, but the Model S was the first car to feature the high-tech safety equipment.
But it looks like that safety equipment wasn’t up to snuff. As reported by Luxembourg Wort, when ILNAS ran their Model S at 30 kph (or about 19 mph) at a stationary dummy it simply kept on driving right up until it actually struck the obstacle.
However, electric car enthusiast site Electrek found a few faults with the test. First and foremost, ILNAS used a 2015 Model S that used first-generation hardware. Additionally, their test opponent was a 2018 Volvo S90 thus pitting an older-model car against a brand new one.
Worse still, ILNAS did not release their test data to the public, so nobody can say for sure what happened. Electrek reached out to Tesla for comment and a spokesperson gave them this reply:
“ILNAS has refused to share the details of the test with us, including the test protocol, and therefore we’ve been unable to confirm that the test is valid or accurate. While we were not consulted by ILNAS in advance and only learned about the test through the media, we have obtained the vehicle identification number of the test car used and see it was built in 2015 and is registered as a rental car in Germany. We will continue to investigate to understand how the test was conducted and if it was done properly.“
It should be noted that the US-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave both the 2016 and 2017 Model S a top-rated “superior” score for frontal crash prevention.
So while it’s fine to not trust the Model S to automatically keep you safe, this ILNAS test doesn’t seem to be on the level either.