The Drive has reported this as “…a lot that goes into making Volvo one of the world’s safest auto brands.”
Volvo undeniably puts safety first, above all else. They famously said a long time ago that zero deaths is their vision.
Volvo –- whose XC90 was among the nine vehicles cited by the IIHS [with death rate of zero] –- has set a corporate goal of having no one die in a crash of one of its new products by the 2020 model-year.
It stands out because this brand is superior to Tesla in every way, including innovation (because safety is valued), yet somehow Tesla has pranced around falsely claiming to be better at safety than Volvo. Remember this 2017 circus show?
“The Volvo is arguably the second-safest car in the world,” he said, eliciting laughs and applause from the audience. […] Musk has made such a comparison [with Volvo] in the past, hailing Tesla’s crash safety as the best in the world, a statement that has caught the attention of some industry veterans because Volvos have a longstanding reputation for safety. The company even has a plan to eliminate crash deaths in its new cars by 2020.
Perhaps this analysis a year earlier in 2016 says it best.
Volvo actually made this claim way back in 2008, as part of their Vision 2020 initiative; good on them for sticking to it. The initiative appears to be back in the news now because with autonomous cars a sure thing, their claim sounds less like optimism and more like certain truth. Volvo has announced, after all, that they’ll be selling autonomous cars in just four years’ time. “With the development of full autonomy we are going to push the limits of automotive safety,” Volvo safety engineer Erik Coelingh told CNN Money, “because if you make a fully autonomous vehicle you have to think through everything that potentially can happen with a car.”
Certain truth? Turns out to be the exact opposite. Volvo backed away from full autonomy and warned people away, while sticking to their zero deaths goal.
“We’re trending towards zero,” said Mr Rourke. “It’s a vision…that’s what we’re aiming towards.” When asked why Volvo had watered down its initial mission statement about zero deaths, Mr Rourke said: “We’re not taking a step back on anything. We’ve said this is our vision (that)…nobody will be hurt or seriously injured or killed in a brand-new Volvo in 2020. Our vision is to make it next to near impossible (to die in a new Volvo).”
And on top of reiteration of that vision, they immediately have responded to any defect with deep analysis and course correction (far better than Tesla, which is slow to respond if at all).
Let me give a few clear examples.
Many manufacturers track zero deaths right now in popular models, despite high volume sales, achieving some of the safest records in history.
Tesla on the other hand, as a relative newcomer without having to maintain a legacy of old technology, is quickly earning a tragic reputation for most boastful (lying) about safety while accumulating hundreds of deaths.
The CEO of Tesla called his cars the safest in the world. Basic data says the opposite:
When I post this chart I often hear Tesla believers complain it doesn’t conform to their bias because it obscures sales volumes. Does it? In fact, it is the opposite. First, volume shouldn’t cause more deaths to start with (remember more cars means more data, which means more safety). Second, Tesla doesn’t have higher volume.
Nissan? Chevrolet? Jaguar? These manufacturers are far older and have far more cars on the road than Tesla. It begs the question of who learns from mistakes and who ignores them.
It’s not being electric that makes a car unsafe, so if you choose an electric car it ought to be clear which one is the least safe.
And who was putting electric cars on the road in 1948? Nissan. Far more cars on the road, and more years of electric cars on the road, yet fatalities are dramatically lower.
Indeed the chart reflects Tesla has an unnecessary disregard for safety compared to all the other car manufacturers. They stand out because being careless makes them stand out.
Look at the following 2021 table showing this year’s sales volumes next to deaths by model:
|Tesla Model S||5,155||40|
|Tesla Model X||6,206||14|
|Ford Mustang Mach-e||12,975||0|
|Tesla Model 3||51,510||87|
Tesla clearly stands out.
Tesla’s Model 3 in three years is at 87 deaths already and climbing. Here’s a qualitative sample of the problem:
Model 3, capable of hitting 60 mph in 2.9 seconds… left the Tesla heading straight into oncoming traffic, as indicated in this photo taken from the Tesla Model 3 seconds before the crash. With the Model 3 hitting nearly 50 mph and still accelerating, the plaintiff was able to avoid the oncoming traffic, an Amish buggy and utility poles before slamming into the building [seriously injuring a woman at her desk who died two weeks later].”
If volume of sales alone were an excuse for deaths, then the Chevrolet Bolt should have nearly 40X more deaths!
And that’s before we ask who looks at the tiny, inexpensive Bolt and sees a high-speed luxury vehicle billed as having top safety features (the way Tesla falsely advertises itself)?
The latest news is indeed that after just three injuries the Bolt manufacturer issued a total recall for ALL of them.
Nearly a month ago General Motors announced it’s recalling every single Chevy Bolt ever made due to a potential fire risk. A defect within the battery system has so far caused 12 fires out of 147,000 Bolts produced and 3 injuries. For many brands and models, this would be a death blow.
Just three injuries. Total recall.
Is it any wonder the same manufacturer had only 7 deaths in a decade with its Volt model, compared to a Tesla Model 3 killing an average of 30 people per year?
Look also at Tesla data, which shows at least 20 fatalities related to fire, and many more injuries. Were they a “death blow” to the brand or model?
Who can forget in 2016 when a test drive erupted in fire and the Tesla response was… it’s unclear why and it hasn’t happened before.
Tesla spokesman in France said that “the fire was caused by a bolted electrical connection that had been improperly tightened.” He added that the electrical connections are normally installed by a robot, but in that particular car, the connection was installed manually. It’s unclear why the connection wasn’t done by a robot like it typically is, but the spokesman did say that there has never been a similar incident in another car.
See any difference in quality control and safety? Tesla literally used “we don’t understand” and “we can’t extrapolate” as excuses to ignore a serious defect.
Fast forward to 2021 and a Tesla spontaneously erupts into fire again after the company said it delayed a release for months to ensure safety.
Tesla originally boasted with their first few thousand cars they would be the safest on the road, and they said the more of their cars on the road would only make things even safer. The exact opposite has happened. The more Tesla, the more deaths, and it’s trivial to understand why.
Look at the Volvo team for comparison to how things should be done. In 2014 they announced technology to help drivers be safer by monitoring alertness.
It was low fanfare, simple in design and made sure drivers understood it was an augmentation related to drivers being in control and safe.
By 2017 Volvo was scaling back its announcements, bringing out a four-year delay, with warnings like this one:
…we are finding that there were more issues to dig into and solve than we expected…
Completely the opposite to Tesla’s CEO in 2019 literally telling people “full self-driving” already was reality that year so drivers should feel comfortable going to sleep in their cars.
Tesla boss Elon Musk says “full self-driving” cars will hit the road this year, with drivers able to sleep in their vehicles in 2020. “My guess as to when we would think it is safe for somebody to essentially fall asleep and wake up at their destination? Probably towards the end of next year,” he said. “I think we will be feature complete, full self-driving, this year — meaning the car will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up, and take you all the way to your destination without an intervention — this year. “I would say I am of certain of that. That is not a question mark.”
A complete lie. Absolutely not true.
Here we are in 2021 with “full self-driving” a widely documented safety disaster, Tesla veering into the wrong lanes at pedestrians and oncoming traffic, barely functioning despite being promoted as “version 10”.
Tesla deaths can only be expected to continue to rise from a combination of this kind of poor engineering with fraudulent promotional bombast.
Now back to Volvo.
A fault in their airbag design has caused a single fatality so they have quickly issued a complete recall of ALL vehicles affected.
The recall includes about 259,383 vehicles in the U.S., 7,048 in Canada and 2,475 in Mexico. The affected vehicles are the S80 sedan from the 2001 to 2006 model years and the S60 sedan from the 2001 to 2009 model years, according to a document posted to NHTSA’s website.
If that number of vehicles seems high, that’s because Volvo sells a lot of cars. And while Volvo states a clear commitment to reaching zero deaths and shows very obvious actions to achieving that laudable goal, Tesla seems only to come up with lies and excuses for why it has keeps failing — killing more and more people.