Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has announced that its Model S sedan received top honors from safety testing done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The company said it received a five-star safety rating not just overall, but also in every single subcategory. Only about 1 percent of the vehicles tested by the NHTSA receive that rating.
The news comes months after the vehicle also received the highest rating awarded by Consumer Reports since 2007.
Tesla Model S sedan surpasses five stars
According to the automaker’s press release, the agency doesn’t publish any ratings over five stars, although it does record those ratings in the overall Vehicle Safety Score, which is given to manufacturers. Tesla reports that the Model S achieved a new combined record of 5.4 stars.
That set a new record for safety and makes the Model S the safest vehicle on the road in the U.S. Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) notes that even though the vehicle is a sedan, its safety score is better than that of all SUVs and minivans. The score accounts for the probability of injuries from accidents involving side front and rear collisions, as well as rollovers.
Tesla breaks down side, front, rollover risks
The EV automaker said one of the biggest advantages for the Model S in a front-end collision is not having a large gasoline engine block. As a result, the vehicle has a longer crumple zone and is able to better absorb high speed impacts.
The Model S also received a good rating in the side pole intrusion test, which is one of the most difficult to pass. According to Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), the automaker preserved 63.5 percent of driver residual space in that scenario. That’s compared to 7.8 percent for the Volvo S60, which also received a five-star rating in all categories. The automaker said it used an approach similar to what was used by the Apollo Lunar Lander in its design to preserve the large amount of space in a side crash.
The company said the rear crash test was especially important because of the optional third row children’s seat. It installs a double bumper if the third row seat is ordered, making it the safest location in the vehicle for frontal or side injuries.
It also reported that other top vehicles were about 50 percent worse than the Model S in terms of rollover risk, largely because “the battery pack is mounted below the floor pan, providing a very low center of gravity.”
Tesla broke the roof crush testing machine
Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) was also happy to report that the roof of the Model S is so strong that it actually broke the roof crush testing machine. The machine failed at just above 4 Gs, so it’s unclear just how strong the roof is. However, we do know that at least four other fully loaded Model S sedans could be put on top of the vehicle without the roof caving in.