Tesla Model S Safety Rating: 5.4 Out of 5 Stars

Electric vehicle fares better than any in history of NHTSA testing

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 20, 2013 12:35 PM CDT

(Newser) – Just how well did the Tesla Model S do in government safety tests? The highest score a car can get is 5 stars. The Model S got 5.4. "Yes," writes Travis Okulski at Jalopnik. "It broke the scale." In fact, the electric car did better than any vehicle ever tested by the National Highway Transportation Safety Board, reports the Christian Science Monitor. About 1% of cars get a 5-star rating, but the Tesla did exceptionally well in all the individual categories and subcategories—front impact, side impact, rear impact, rollover vulnerability, you name it.

"Frontal impact was aided by the lack of engine block under the Tesla's 'frunk'—allowing more space for impact absorption," writes Antony Ingram at the Monitor, who finds evidence of a real-world test in Tennessee. A woman driving a Tesla S there slammed into a power pole hard enough to knock it down and cut off power to a neighborhood, reports WGNS. But she emerged unscathed, except for DUI charges. (The Model S, which starts at a mere $70,000, also got rave reviews from Consumer Reports.)

A Tesla Model S is shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Jan. 10, 2011.
A Tesla Model S is shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Jan. 10, 2011.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
The Tesla Model S is shown at the North American International Auto Show Jan. 12, 2010, in Detroit.
The Tesla Model S is shown at the North American International Auto Show Jan. 12, 2010, in Detroit.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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