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Tesla finally releases safety data after over a year

Here's what Tesla's safety reporting says

Tesla / Tesla

Without sounding like we’re writing this wearing a tinfoil hat while watching videos of the moon landing in slow motion and searching for inconsistencies, it’s hard not to notice that Tesla has used some rather colorful marketing techniques over the last several years. It started with claims of nearly unobtainable range numbers in its early cars unless, of course, you happened to be driving downwind, downhill during the perfect ambient temperature.

Then claims of the Model S Plaid being able to run 0-60 mph in under two seconds, which technically was true, Elon just forgot to mention that time was achieved on an NHRA-prepped drag strip. Then, when the Cyberbeast came along, claiming to have ten thousand pound-feet of torque, which again was technically true if you used the same unorthodox method of output measurement.
So when Tesla went dark after Q4 of 2022 when it came to sharing its cars’ safety data, it was hard not to be suspicious. But almost a year and half later, Elon has decided to share his company’s Autopilot and fire safety data with the world.

According to the data, Autopilot works

In the chart released by Telsa, the data is revealed in terms of millions of miles driven by Tesla vehicles using Autopilot, Tesla vehicles not using Autopilot, and finally, the United States national average. Curiously, we can see that while still showing a considerable advantage, the Autopilot data for Q1 of 2023 was considerably lower than that of Q1 of 2022, which may explain why Tesla was not initially very forthcoming with this information. Though the following quarters fluctuate, we can see that in Q1 of 2024, Tesla drivers using Autopilot were able to drive nearly eight million miles before an accident occurred, which is almost four times better than the U.S. average and Tesla vehicles not using Autopilot combined, which heavily bolsters its claim:
At Tesla, we believe that technology can help improve safety. That’s why Tesla vehicles are engineered to be the safest cars in the world. We believe the unique combination of passive safety, active safety, and automated driver assistance is crucial for keeping not just Tesla drivers and passengers safe, but all drivers on the road. It’s this notion that grounds every decision we make – from the design of our cars, to the software we introduce, to the features we offer every Tesla owner.

Tesla fire safety far exceeds the U.S. average, according to the numbers

Tesla / Tesla
One of the more interesting concerns that many EV naysayers had at the onset of the electric movement was that riding on a giant battery under the floorboards could lead to a higher occurrence of a vehicle fire. While the idea of short circuits and faulty wiring isn’t completely outlandish, it does seem a tad hypocritical when compared to driving around with a giant container of highly combustible liquid in tow, and the numbers bear that out.
In terms of millions of miles driven before a fire event, Tesla’s data tells us that its cars have gone more than 130 million miles before one fire occurred, which is more than five times the U.S. national average of less than 20 million miles.

Conclusion: Teslas are safe cars

Person using the touchscreen feature while driving a Tesla
So, while many of Tesla’s claims over the years have seemed to be more than a bit questionable, it appears that its Autopilot function and fire prevention methods work exceptionally well. Granted, one must consider the source of this data when analyzing it, but if the numbers collected are valid and don’t adhere to any quirky fine print not listed in the fine print (which reads as perfectly valid), then it seems clear that Teslas are in fact, extremely safe cars, with the only true concern being the drivers themselves.

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Lou Ruggieri
A lifelong lover of cars, Lou contributes to Motor Trend, Hot Cars, Auto & Truck Connection, and the PowerAutoMedia Group.
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