Tesla Motors has announced that its all-electric Tesla Model S sedan has achieved an overall 5-star safety rating, and a 5-star rating in every single subcategory of testing carried out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Tesla says the overall Vehicle Safety Score (VSS) in the testing was actually 5.4 stars, which is a new combined record for all vehicles ever tested.
Tesla maintains that the Model S has “set a new record for the lowest likelihood of injury to occupants”. The sedan also surpassed the safety score of all SUVs and minivans, which bodes well for the expected quality of Tesla’s upcoming Model X SUV. Let’s hope they do keep up the exceptional standard with that model, as the company’s overall production continues to increase.
The company statement points out that part of the safety advantage of the car comes from the fact that because there is no large fossil fuel engine at the front, a much longer crumple zone is afforded. In the event of a high speed impact at the front, that’s a real advantage. In the Model S, the front area is trunk space. The electric motor is only around a foot in diameter and is situated near the rear axle.
The car also performed exceptionally for side and rear crash testing, and for rollover risk. Details about these tests can be found on the Tesla site. Notably, the lithium-ion battery carried by the Model S didn’t catch fire during or after any of the testing. Tesla also points out that no production Tesla lithium-ion battery has ever caught fire, and yes, there have been “several speed impacts”.
Founder and CEO Elon Musk has previously said that with the Model S, Tesla did not set out to design and build the best electric car, but rather the best car. Following previous accolades for design, efficiency, and overall performance, it’s starting to look a lot like they’ve done a very good job with the Model S.
Image credit: Tesla Motors