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Tesla Model 3 Earns Top Safety Pick+ Award From IIHS

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Tesla has earned the highest safety award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or IIHS for the first time. The luxury electric car maker's Model 3 midsize luxury sedan won the IIHS's Top Safety Pick+ award.

The Model 3 is the second plug-in vehicle with no gas engine to earn the Top Safety Pick+ award after Audi's e-tron SUV. The car achieved "good" ratings in all the six crash tests, and performed well in a test for its frontal-crash prevention system and a headlight evaluation test.

The Audi e-tron also won the Top Safety Pick+ award, while the Hyundai Nexo became the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle to earn the top award.

The all-electric small car Chevrolet Bolt did not win the designation of Top Safety Pick as the car's headlights caused too much glare, earning it a poor rating. However, the car performed well in the IIHS crash-worthiness tests.

The Model 3, the most affordable of Tesla's three vehicles, earned a superior rating for its standard front crash prevention system after avoiding collisions in both the 12 mph and 25 mph IIHS track tests.

According to the IIHS, the Model 3's structure held up well in one of the Institute's most challenging crash tests, the driver-side small overlap front test.

In a blog post, Tesla noted that the Model 3's all-electric powertrain design gives the car a low center of gravity that reduces roll-over risk, while its aluminum and steel passenger cabin provides exceptional strength to equally protect drivers and passengers.

In addition, Model 3's lack of an engine is replaced by a large crumple zone that helps it absorb energy more effectively than a gas car would, dissipating force away from the passenger cabin.

In September 2018, the Model 3 had won a five-star rating for safety from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA.

Tesla later noted in a blog post that the Model 3 achieved "the lowest probability of injury of any vehicle ever tested by the NHTSA." But the NHTSA sent a cease-and-desist letter to Tesla, saying that the company cannot make the claim.

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