From the UK Telegraph: The Tesla Model S electric luxury car has achieved the highest score ever in US safety tests, according to its manufacturer.
Tesla, which is based in Palo Alto, California, claims the Model S achieved a new combined record of 5.4 stars in independent tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Although the NHTSA doesn’t publish a star rating above the maximum of five stars, these figures are provided to manufacturers, and Tesla says that the Model S set a new record for the lowest likelihood of injury to occupants.
The Model S is powered by a rear-mounted electric motor, and Tesla claims that this gives it an advantage over rival luxury saloons because the absence of a large engine at the front of the car makes it possible to create a longer crumple zone to absorb an impact.
In “side pole intrusion” tests the Model S preserved 63.5 per cent of driver residual space, which Tesla says is thanks to multiple energy-absorbing aluminium extrusions in the side rails of the car that use similar technology to that of the Apollo Lunar Lander.
Tesla also says that the Model S offers considerably better rollover protection than its rivals. In independent tests the car refused to roll over via “normal methods”, it says, due to the low centre of gravity created by its floor-mounted battery pack.
It also claims that: “During validation of Model S roof crush protection at an independent commercial facility, the testing machine failed at just above 4g’s. While the exact number is uncertain due to Model S breaking the testing machine, what this means is that at least four additional fully loaded Model S vehicles could be placed on top of an owner’s car without the roof caving in. This is achieved primarily through a centre (B) pillar reinforcement attached via aerospace grade bolts.”
The company also points out that the Model S’s lithium-ion battery did not catch fire during NHTSA testing, and says that no production Tesla model has had a battery fire.
Rear-facing seats that fold up from the boot floor are an option for the Model S. Tesla says that when these are fitted, a special “double bumper” is fitted to provide better crash protection.
The Tesla Model S hasn’t been tested in Euro NCAP crash tests.
The fully electric Model S is powered by a 410bhp electric motor that gives a 0-60mph time of 5.4 sec and a top speed of 125mph.