From being the highest-scored car ever tested by Consumer Reports to outselling luxury competitors like BMW and Mercedes, the Tesla Model S seems almost too good to be true…and it just got better. Not only did the Tesla Model S score a perfect rating in the NHTSA crash tests, it actually exceeded the NHTSA’s own score, achieving the best safety test score in the association’s history.
The NHTSA’s scoring system only rates cars up to 5 stars in a series of crash tests, but provides manufacturers with the overall Vehicle Safety Score which can exceed the 5-star rating. In the VSS, the Tesla Model S scored 5.4, which Tesla attributes to the car’s all-electric drivetrain, allowing its frame to be strengthened at traditional weak points.
According to Tesla’s blog post, after nailing a 5-star rating in their own independent testing (using the same NHTSA guidelines), engineers then went back and improved any perceived weak spots. So that no matter how the testing equipment was configured, the Model S was guaranteed a 5-star rating.
Some highlights of the testing include;
- breaking a roof-crushing machine at 4x the weight of the Model S
- special methods to flip the Model S had to be employed, due to a low center of gravity
- the Model S is the only car to get a “good” rating in the side-pole intrusion test
Talk about setting a new standard. If I was in charge of a traditional automaker, I’d be wringing my hands in worry right about now.