The Korean government gave Tesla's Model 3 a "Grade 2" in its latest safety test. Photo courtesy of Tesla
SEOUL, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Tesla's Model 3 is less safe than Hyundai Motor's Ioniq 5, according to South Korean test results announced Wednesday.
In its recent safety tests of the two vehicles, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said the Ioniq 5 received a score of "Grade 1" with an average score of 92.1 points out of 100, compared with 83.3 points for the Model 3.
Because the Model 3 obtained the lower grade, its consumers will have to pay higher auto insurance premiums than those of the Ioniq 5.
The two automobiles are the most popular electric cars in Korea. During the first seven months of this year, Ioniq 5 sales came out to 8,628 in total, compared with 6,292 for the Model 3.
The Ioniq 5 scored 98.8 points on the collision safety test, 95.9 points on the accident prevention test, and 68.2 points on the safety against a collision with pedestrians test.
The Model 3 beat the Ioniq 5 in the collision safety test, receiving 99.6 points. But the Tesla struggled in the latter two sections, scoring 58.4 points and 59.5 points, respectively.
The Model 3 lost points as it runs a relatively high risk of causing serious injuries to pedestrians during a crash, according to test results.
"Tesla has advanced technology in terms of detecting and staying within lanes. But it received relatively low scores because it did not meet domestic [safety] standards," a ministry official told UPI News Korea.
"If Tesla offers services that are in line with local requirements, it will be sure to receive the highest grade in the Korean New Car Assessment Program (KNCAP)," the official said.
The Korean government introduced the KNCAP in 1999 to provide automobile safety information to the public through assessments such as vehicle crash tests.
"Tesla's vehicles have become very popular among young car drivers in Korea, which led to brisk sales of its models," Daelim University automotive professor Kim Pil-soo said in a telephone interview.
"But I think we now need to check whether its models are safe enough. The company's lack of experiences in manufacturing cars may be the source of the issue," he said.