Tesia Is 'Highly Confident' Cybertruck Is Safer Per Mile Than Other Trucks

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says that the all-electric automaker believes that its new Cybertruck will be “much safer per mile” than other trucks in its class.

The statement comes all while the Cybertruck remains under fire regarding its occupant safety since Tesla shared slow-motion crash test videos during the delivery event, which raised concerns that the truck lacked crumple zones to absorb impact forces.

 

The concern was due to the lack of visible deformation of the truck during a head-on collision at 35 MPH. The truck appeared to not crumple like most modern vehicles, and even resulted in the truck’s rear wheel—which is used to steer the vehicle—displaying significant movement when it collided. To many, this meant that the force of the impact could translate to the occupants like a land yacht from the 1970s.

“Because the center of gravity is so low, it doesn’t roll over,” said Musk at the Cybertruck’s delivery event while showing various impact crash tests of the Cybertruck to the audience. “If you’re ever in an argument with another car, you will win.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s response in the above tweet didn’t just address occupancy safety. It also touched on pedestrians. A counter-argument going around the internet is that Tesla’s suite of safety software and its sloped front-end help to make it safer than other vehicles in its class.

Trucks, generally speaking, are more dangerous to pedestrians in crashes. In fact, a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that trucks with hood heights over 40 inches are approximately 45% more likely to result in a fatality during a pedestrian impact. Couple that with the insane acceleration and force present in these types of collisions with a heavy EV and you’ve got a potential recipe for fatalities.

“Whatever their nose shape, pickups, SUVs, and vans with a hood height greater than 40 inches are about 45 percent more likely to cause fatalities in pedestrian crashes than cars and other vehicles with a hood height of 30 inches or less and a sloping profile,” writes the IIHS in its study of 18,000 pedestrian-involved crashes. It later continues: “However, among vehicles with hood heights between 30 and 40 inches, a blunt, or more vertical, front end increases the risk to pedestrians.”

Now, Tesla hasn’t published how tall the Cybertruck’s front end is, but we do know the size of the tires on the truck. That alone tells us that the front end sits more than 40 inches off the ground and would likely fall within the statistics that the IIHS published.

The Cybertruck clearly has a significantly more sloped hood than other trucks in its segment, like the F-150. However, it’s unlikely that will significantly affect the mortality of a pedestrian-related crash given the height of the hood. The IIHS told InsideEVs its study found that a vehicle’s front-end profile did not appear to matter that much once the vehicle’s hood height is over 40 inches.

“The results suggest that a pedestrian involved in a crash with a vehicle with a 40-inch hood height and a sloped front end would have a greater chance of surviving than in the same crash with a vehicle with a 40-inch hood height and blunt front end,” said an IIHS spokesperson in an email to InsideEVs. “For taller vehicles, however, that front-end profile is less of a factor in [survivability].”

We also know that the Cybertruck will likely never make it to Europe due to its relatively sharp protrusions. European safety requirements call for all external projections to have rounded corners of at least 3.2 millimeters, which, essentially, is to prevent vehicles from being rolling guillotines should a pedestrian impact occur. Tesla’s Vice President of Vehicle Engineering, Lars Moravy, claims that this requirement is “impossible” to achieve with Tesla’s so-called “air bending” production method.

Let’s be clear—I’m hoping that Tesla can back up its claims of occupant and pedestrian safety. Tesla often brags about its vehicle safety through quarterly vehicle safety reports, at least up until the end of 2022 when it stopped reporting the figures. These statistics measured how many million miles have been driven across its fleet without an accident, with and without Autopilot enabled, compared to the U.S. average. If the number of accidents can be reduced, or even the number of fatal accidents, through the use of vehicle and software engineering, then that’s a step in the right direction.