A Tesla Model 3 plugged in and charging at a Supercharger rapid battery charging station for electric vehicles in Bersteland, Germany, on March 02, 2021.
Thomas Koehler | Photothek | Getty Images
Consumer Reports and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on Tuesday restored top safety endorsements for the Tesla Model 3, the company’s lower-priced electric sedan.
In May, Tesla said it was removing radar sensors from its Model 3 sedans and Model Y crossover vehicles made for customers in North America built on or after April 27, 2021. These would rely on a vision-based driver assistance system (using cameras) instead.
At the time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration web pages referencing Tesla 2021 Model 3s stopped displaying check marks indicating the agency had verified the efficacy of safety features in the modified cars.
Of particular concern was whether the radar-omitted Teslas’ forward collision warning, lane departure warning, crash imminent braking and dynamic brake support would work as well as they did before the modification.
Check marks are still missing on the government web page for some of those features.
An IIHS spokesperson said in an e-mail to CNBC: “With the new ratings, the 2021 IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+ award now applies to all 2021 Tesla Model 3 vehicles, regardless of which front crash prevention system is equipped on a given vehicle.”
IIHS hasn’t evaluated the Tesla Model Y, but it plans to complete full ratings for that vehicle later this summer. Their report will include an evaluation of the Model Y’s crashworthiness, front crash prevention and headlights.
Consumer Reports said in a statement on Tuesday that the independent tests by IIHS “proved the effectiveness” of Tesla’s camera-based automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning systems, and that was enough to designate the 2021 Model 3, once again, a Consumer Reports Top Pick.