NHTSA Tesla Model S crash test (Image: crashnet1 Youtube screen grab)Enlarge Photo
The Tesla Model S electric sedan isn't just receiving awards from all quarters--it's also incredibly safe should the worst occur. Just how safe has come to light in extra information provided by Telsa Motors [NSDQ:TSLA], following the car's recent five-star NHTSA crash tests.
It's scored the best safety rating of any vehicle ever tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration--irrespective of vehicle segment. Tesla notes that the Model S sedan's five-star across the board score--something achieved by only one percent of vehicles tested--doesn't tell the whole story. In the automaker's blog, it reveals the car has set a new record for lowest likelihood of injury to occupants, even exceeding scores of larger minivans and SUVs.
The NHTSA tests comprise frontal, side-impact, side pole impact and rollover tests. In each category, the Model S excelled. Frontal impact was aided by the car's engine-free front compartment, allowing extra space for deformation and impact absorption.
In side and pole impacts, extra aluminum reinforcements in the side structure help transfer load to the rest of the car's structure, and minimize intrusion--allowing far more residual space for the occupants in a side impact than already-safe vehicles like Volvo's five-star S60 sedan.
An extra bumper layer, fitted when the customer orders the extra pair of rear-facing Model S seats, helps improve rear impact safety--and in front or side impact, the rear seats are the safest place in the car.
Rollover risk was very low indeed--less than 6 percent, and "refusing to turn over via the normal methods" while Tesla reveals that rollover testing equipment broke under independent assessment when it reached 4g of load--four time's the car's fully-loaded weight on the roof structure.
If Tesla hadn't already given you enough reasons to want a Model S--not least its rating as one of Consumer Reports' best ever test vehicles--exceptional occupant safety has just become another.