Stefan Hagen in front of a car.
Becoming ID.

Crash testing: prepared for everything

Becoming ID.

Crash testing: prepared for everything

Passenger protection was a top priority in the safety development of ID.3. In this episode, you can find out how additional features have further enhanced safety and what the new centre airbag does for the driver and front passenger. 

The new centre airbag is designed to protect the heads of the front occupants from colliding with each other. Stefan Hagen, responsible for ID.3 side crash safety, tells us how exactly it works.


At what point did you realise that electric mobility is about to make a breakthrough for everyone?

Look at the ID.3: it eliminates almost all of the prejudices against electric mobility. Whether the range, the cost, the design, the suitability for everyday use, the safety or the constantly growing charging infrastructure – we are truly well positioned with the ID.3.

What was the biggest challenge you faced over the entire course of the project?

In addition to all the issues regarding the protection of the high-voltage battery in accidents, we were highly focused on passenger protection with the ID.3. Additional features serve to further improve the safety standard. That is why our vehicle safety department has developed a new type of airbag: the centre airbag, which opens between the two front seats. This is intended to prevent the two front occupants from colliding hard with each other in the event of a side crash, for example. The development was very challenging because the load case under consideration was new for us, and at the same time the development had a very tight schedule.

We worked hard and did everything in our power to ensure that this car would offer maximum safety.
Stefan Hagen
Vehicle safety, overall vehicle function
Side impact, static testing

In detail: which technology do you find most fascinating in the new ID.3?

The ID.3 is just as crash-proof as a conventionally powered car. The robust structures to protect the high-voltage battery in case of accidents characterise the vehicle. This makes it incredibly rigid and the vehicle demonstrates comparatively small overall deformations in our crash tests.
Of course, the new centre airbag also needs to be emphasised here. Plus, this is already part of the standard safety equipment in the ID.3.

What inspired you the most when developing the ID. family?

I had the privilege of accompanying the project from the beginning until now as a vehicle safety engineer. We are currently testing the pilot series. The first crash in September 2018 was particularly exciting for me. After we had spent so much time on theoretical planning and development, testing the prototype in reality for the first time was a big moment. That was incredibly exciting and an absolute highlight.


What will you take away from this project personally?

Three years ago, I never would have thought that we would be able to accomplish everything that we have achieved so far and keep up with this ambitious schedule. The team effort from everyone involved is truly impressive. The car will definitely make an impact.

What noticeable advantages result from digital simulation solutions – such as pre-calculations of a crash?

We only had seven prototypes available to us during development, which we used for the various front, side and rear crashes. We quickly discovered that the vehicle structure could not be developed through individual crash tests. This is where simulations come into play. Without these, it is impossible to achieve the high development of modern vehicles. As a consequence, the vehicle structure and restraint systems have already been extensively designed and optimised in the simulations before the first crash test. Simulation saves an enormous amount of time because weak points can be identified and eliminated at an early stage. Nevertheless, physical crash tests are and will remain indispensable for safeguarding and validation, especially for such a revolutionary vehicle as the ID.3.

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Interior: the mobile living room

Colour, material, geometry: a perfect interplay

Wheels: efficient and distinctive