The Tesla Model S has achieved the highest safety rating ever recorded in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the Model S a full five star rating in each subcategory.
Although the NHTSA doesn’t publish a star rating above five, Tesla claims the Model S achieved a theoretical (but unofficial) 5.4-star rating in the vehicle safety score.
The results found the Model S set a new record for occupant safety for cars sold in North America. The score accounts for injuries sustained resulting from front, side, rear and rollover collisions.
The side pole intrusion test saw the Tesla preserve 63.5 per cent of driver space, compared to another five-star car, the Volvo S60, which preserved 7.8 per cent of space. Tesla says safety in the optional third row of seats is improved with a double bumper arrangement.
Tesla attributes much of its protection to a large front crumple zone afforded by the lack of a large engine and aluminium extrusions in the side rails.
During rollover tests, the NHTSA employed special measures to induce a roll due to the Model S’s particularly low centre of gravity. Tesla mounts the battery below the floorpan. It says tests show that four fully loaded Model S vehicles could be placed on top of an owner’s car without the roof caving in.