Tesla China shared a new video on its YouTube channel that highlights the important focus on safety that Tesla is well known for. The video led with a clip of CEO Elon Musk speaking on how important it is to put safety first.
“We really believe at Tesla that safety has to come first. We care about you. we want you to be safe. We want your friends and family to be safe. This is paramount.”
The video, which was presented in Chinese with English subtitles, was titled, “Tesla Giga Principle of Safety Part 1.” It shared clips of crash testing while elaborating on how safety is Tesla’s top priority. Translated, the presenter said:
“Safety has always been Tesla’s top priority in design. And crash test is an important approach to obtain the safety parameters of a car. After countless research and development efforts, a new car faces its final assessment — the crash test. Tesla has received a five-star rating, the highest rating in the industry around the globe from various New Car Assessment Programs (NCAP) and tests from insurance institutes such as Insurance Institutes Highway Safety (IIHS).”
The narrator also explained that the vehicle has to go through all types of tests to fully assess just how safe it is. These tests include simulations of various types of collisions and assessing the damages to the test dummies along with the amount of absorption and deformation of the car’s structure and the performance of its restraint system.
In the video, Tesla provides a look at just how Tesla protects its drivers and occupants in different crash scenarios.
“In a collision, the strong and flexible structure and materials can effectively ensure the safety of the user. ‘Being strong’ means withstanding huge impacts, and being ‘flexible’ means to divert and dissipate the impact force.”
The narrator shared details of how Tesla makes its structure. Tesla uses a mix of steel and aluminum. He explained that the ratio of ultra-strength and high-strength steel used is over 60% of the car and that it can minimize the deformation of the car in a collision. In addition to that, Tesla has a specially designed crumple zone that can maximize the absorption of a large force from the impact that is exerted during a collision, which ensures the safety of its passengers.
A Crash Box Made To Save Lives
He pointed out that among frontal impact testing, small overlap collisions require the highest safety standards and pose the harshest test to the structural design and materials. One of the key advantages of Tesla vehicles is that they do not have engines. This allows for the crumple zone in the front of the car cabin to absorb more force while holding more crumple structures simultaneously.
Another engineer pointed out further details while using the frontal cabin structure of a body-in-white. He pointed at a box and noted that it was a long crash box. As the camera zoomed on the box itself, he explained:
“The whole aluminum crash box has a fortified square shape cross-section. During a collision, this piece of the crash box will transform into a wave-like structure.”
The narrator added that the energy that isn’t completely absorbed by the crash box will be transmitted and dispersed to the other parts of the car.
“The first route is through the beam at the top and to the A-pillar and then the other is from our longeron to the base and outward to the door frame area. There is a triangular support structure in the frontal area. This triangular support structure can effectively prevent the pedals from collapsing into the legroom in a collision.”
Another engineer shared information about the red components at the frontal longeron and how they were designed. They are made from super-high-strength thermal forming steel.
“In a frontal collision, our frontal cabin can withstand the thermal impact as much as possible.”
For side-impact testing, these include scenarios where the car collides with a pole from the side, which, the narrator pointed out, is one of the hardest tests to pass.
“It requires the side structure of the car to absorb and disperse the energy of the collision to the utmost.”
The engineers at Tesla China shared more in-depth details as to how they design the vehicles to be as safe as possible. One key component in the safety design includes intentionally designing it so that the doors can be opened after a collision.
They also share how they design the vehicle to protect the battery pack underneath the floorboard, and dive into a special technique called laser penetration welding to secure 1700 MPa grade martensite steel.