Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Model S Is Safe, But What’s The Science?

Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Model S Is Safe, But What’s The Science?
Blomst / Pixabay

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has created the safest car on the road with the Tesla Model S, but why is the car so much safer than the others? Wired writer Rhett Allain, an Associate Professor of Physics at Southeastern Louisiana University, takes a look at the science behind the car’s impressive safety features.

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Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Model S Is Safe, But What's The Science?

Allain takes a look at the frontal crash test performed by the National Highway Safety Administration on the Model S, and all other cars on the road. The Wired article does the heavy lifting here, but there are some basic reasons why the Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S is the safest car on the road today.

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The Model S is designed to crash

Like all modern automobiles, the Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S is designed to crash. When it’s in a collision, the front of the Model S crumples easily. Cars in hard collisions are designed to be destroyed while keeping the person inside them safe. The Model S is particular good at breaking, and that’s how it keeps its passengers safe.

Cars are designed to crumple so that they take a lot of the momentum out of the impact. This serves to slow down the passenger inside the car. The speed the passenger’s head moves, and its acceleration and deceleration, are particularly important.

tesla crash

Tesla Model S breaks better than other cars

The above graph shows the speed of the head of a passenger in a head on crash into a wall starting at 35 mph. The two cars charted are the Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S and the Ford Escape. The velocity of the head is an important indicator in crashes, because the neck is where much of the damage occurs when wearing a seat belt.

The graph shows that the driver’s head slows down much faster in the Model S than it does in the Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) Escape. When the car finally reaches 0 mph, on the very right-hand side of the graph, there is a little bit of acceleration as the head goes backward into the seat. This can be extremely dangerous. In the Ford Escape the quick acceleration at the very right of the graph could cause damage. There’s very little pull-back on the Model S.

The Model S breaks better than its competitors. It sounds counter intuitive, but that’s how the car protects those inside it from the worst of a crash, and that’s why the Tesla Model S is the safest car on the road.

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