Testing Tesla Model 3 headlights at night

21 Jan Testing Tesla Model 3 headlights performance at night (video & IIHS test data)

Jan 21, 2019 | by Iqtidar Ali

The vision of what’s happening in front is ultimately the most important part of good driving  — so Tesla and EV enthusiast and winner of 2 next-gen Tesla Roadsters, Bjørn Nyland recorded a video for us while testing Tesla Model 3 headlights.

Recently Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducted a thorough test of the Tesla Model 3 headlights and posted the results on their website for both the updated version of the headlamps (built after June 2018) and the older version (built before June 2018) (comparison charts and result tables below).

IIHS, although rated the older version of the headlights ‘Acceptable’, the new Tesla Model 3 headlights earned a ‘Good’ rating, which equals to ‘excellent’ in the real world as we can see in the video test below.

Model 3 headlight test results: Comparison chart for before and after June 2018 models

Model 3 headlight test results comparison graphs for before and after June 2018 models
Click/Tap image to zoon-in or download. Charts by IIHS

Above comparison image of the Model 3 headlights test results by IIHS shows that Tesla was able to significantly improve visibility and get rid of the glare that the headlights were affected with, for prior to June 2018 models.

The tests are conducted with a distance at which headlights provide at least 5 lux illumination — IIHS provides the full details on how they perform this test here.

Looking at the detailed test results on the IIHS website and tables below we can see that the latest Model 3 headlights can provide max front illumination of 178.3 m (584.9 ft) vs. the older lamps which were only able to go as far as 144.2 m (473 ft) which is a significant improvement, other visibility metrics have also been optimized.

The only drawback with Model 3 headlights is that they are ‘not adaptive headlights’, but the Auto High Beam feature is available which detects vehicles and oncoming traffic ahead.

IIHS Test Results for Model 3 headlights built after June 2018


Trim level(s)
  • All trims
Low-beam headlight type LED reflector
High-beam headlight type LED reflector
Curve-adaptive? No
High-beam assist? Yes
Overall rating
Applies to 2018 models built after June 2018
G

LOW BEAMS Average minimum useful 
illumination distance (5 lux)
Amount glare 
exceeded threshold
Straightaway right edge 100.4 m None
Straightaway left edge 57.6 m None
250m radius right curve, right edge 64.5 m None
250m radius left curve, left edge 52.0 m None
150m radius right curve, right edge 55.4 m None
150m radius left curve, left edge 45.7 m None

HIGH BEAMS Average minimum useful 
illumination distance (5 lux)
Straightaway right edge 178.3 m
Straightaway left edge 168.6 m
250m radius right curve, right edge 85.4 m
250m radius left curve, left edge 81.0 m
150m radius right curve, right edge 66.7 m
150m radius left curve, left edge 61.4 m


IIHS test results for Tesla Model 3 headlights built before June 2018


Trim level(s)
  • All trims
Low-beam headlight type LED reflector
High-beam headlight type LED reflector
Curve-adaptive? No
High-beam assist? Yes
Overall rating
Applies to 2018 models built before July 2018
A

LOW BEAMS Average minimum useful 
illumination distance (5 lux)
Amount glare 
exceeded threshold
Straightaway right edge 75.8 m 15.2 %
Straightaway left edge 59.7 m 15.2 %
250m radius right curve, right edge 58.9 m None
250m radius left curve, left edge 56.1 m None
150m radius right curve, right edge 52.4 m None
150m radius left curve, left edge 48.6 m None

HIGH BEAMS Average minimum useful 
illumination distance (5 lux)
Straightaway right edge 144.2 m
Straightaway left edge 137.2 m
250m radius right curve, right edge 76.5 m
250m radius left curve, left edge 73.2 m
150m radius right curve, right edge 59.3 m
150m radius left curve, left edge 56.0 m

Testing Tesla Model 3 headlights performance at night

According to Bjørn’s assessment, these Model 3 headlights are comparable to the Tesla Model X and facelifted Model S as well but Europe and United States have different regulations for headlight standards which he explains in the video.

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Iqtidar Ali
xautoworld@gmail.com

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