Tesla Model S sets a new record in the NHTSA crash tests [w/video]

Article by Christian A., on August 20, 2013

The Tesla Model S is not only the most efficient electric car on the market but also the safest, according to NHTSA. Independent testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the Tesla Model S a 5-star safety rating in every subcategory without exception.

According to NHTSA it is very hard to get this rating and only one percent of all cars tested by the federal government achieve 5 stars across the board.

Still, Tesla says that NHTSA doesn’t publish a star rating above 5, but safety levels better than 5 stars are captured in the overall Vehicle Safety Score (VSS) provided to manufacturers, where the Model S achieved a new combined record of 5.4 stars.

Moreover, the Tesla Model S S set a new record for the lowest likelihood of injury to occupants and exceeded the safety score of all SUVs and minivans.

For the side pole intrusion test, the Tesla Model S was the only car in the "good" category among the other top one percent of vehicles tested.

Comparing it with the Volvo S60, which also received a 5-star rating in all categories, the Tesla Model S preserved 63.5 percent of driver residual space vs. 7.8 percent for the Volvo. The rear crash test is also very important due to the optional third row children’s seat.

As a result, Tesla installs a double bumper if the third row seat is ordered. The Tesla Model S was also better in the rollover risk and during testing the car simply refused to turn over the normal methods.

The reason for such a good outcome is that the battery pack is located below the floor pan, providing a very low center of gravity. What’s interesting is that during validation of Model S roof crush protection at an independent validation of Model S roof crush protection.

This is achieved primarily through a center (B) pillar reinforcement attached via aerospace grade bolts. The Model S lithium-ion battery did not catch fire at any time before, during or after the NHTSA testing. 

Known as the first purely electric sedan, the Tesla Model S is a breakthrough in automotive engineering. It combines efficiency, performance, and safety, and has reset people’s expectations for a 21st-century car with excellent safety ratings, over-the-air software updates, and the longest range for an electric car.

Built on Tesla’s platform, the Model S battery was placed on the floor, giving the car an exceptionally low center of gravity. This low center of gravity has significantly minimized the risk of rollovers, as well as enhanced performance and handling. The Model S has no engine, but it has a much larger crumple zone than other performance sedans, enabling it to absorb shock in the event of a front-end impact.

The Model S owes its safety to its unique electric drivetrain. One of the world’s safest cars, the Model S boasts a 5-star Euro NCAP and NHTSA safety rating. It also holds the record for the lowest likelihood of passenger injury during its U.S. testing.

Moreover, the car’s standard active safety features include blind spot detection, collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning. It also has optional convenience features such as autosteer, autopark, traffic-aware cruise control, and summon.

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