Electric Cars

Tesla Model 3 earns IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus

It's only the second electric car to take the top honors.

Move over, Audi E-Tron, because there's another Top Safety Pick Plus in town with an electric powertrain. The IIHS has awarded the Tesla Model 3 with a Top Safety Pick Plus, which represents the highest honor from the insurance industry-funded safety group.

The E-Tron electric crossover was previously the first and only fully electric vehicle to earn a Top Safety Pick Plus, but Tesla joins the exclusive group following the latest news. Top Safety Pick Plus vehicles must earn a "Good" rating in all six crashworthiness tests, including the most difficult small-overlap front test on the passenger side. Anything less than a "Good" rating automatically rules it out of contention for the honor.

The Model 3 earned a "Superior" rating for its standard frontal-crash avoidance technology and also avoided a crash at both 12 mph and 25 mph. With the rating, it moved onto headlight tests, which often prove a car's downfall for any IIHS awards.

All Model 3 electric cars come standard with an LED reflector headlight, which the IIHS rated "Good." Top Safety Pick Plus winners must earn a "Good" rating for headlights, though an "Acceptable" rating will keep it in the running for a normal Top Safety Pick award. Vehicles often only offer the "Good" or "Acceptable" headlights on pricier trims. While the Model 3's headlights aren't curve adaptive, they do feature high-beam assist.

On the news, Tesla said "We're also committed to making our cars even safer over time via over-the-air updates." The company added the updates ensure owners have access to "the best safety features available for their cars."