Tesla Motors announced on Monday that its latest electric car, the Tesla Model S, has received the highest possible crash test score.
“Independent testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has awarded the Tesla Model S a 5-star safety rating, not just overall, but in every subcategory without exception,” the press release states. “Approximately one percent of all cars tested by the federal government achieve 5 stars across the board.”
Here’s what you need to know…
1. The Tesla Model S Earned a Better Than Perfect Crash Test Score
The car was actually awarded a better than perfect score. Although the NHTSA does not officially publish ratings higher than 5 stars, the press release states that the Model S earned a combined 5.4 stars in the Vehicle Safety Score.
2. The Tesla Model S is the First Electric Car to Earn a Perfect Score
While other electric cars have received five stars in the past, the Model S is the first with five stars across the board. For example, the 2014 Ford Focus earned an overall five star rating, but only scored four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests.
3. The Lack of a Large Gasoline Engine Worked in the Cars Favor
Since the Model S is an electric car, it does not have a large gasoline engine block. Thus, engineers were able to design the car’s front section to have longer “crumple zone.” This allows the Model S to absorb more of an impact’s force without harming passengers.
“This is fundamentally a force over distance problem; the longer the crumple zone, the more time there is to slow down occupants at g loads that do not cause injuries,” Tesla said. “Just like jumping into a pool of water from a tall height, it is better to have the pool be deep and not contain rocks.”
4. The Car Actually Broke Testing Equipment
During a roof crush test, the NHTSA’s testing machine failed when four times the car’s weight was applied to the top of the vehicle, meaning four fully loaded Model S vehicles could be placed on the car without the roof caving in. Tesla even admits that the exact number of the car’s breaking point is uncertain.
The car also excelled in rollover tests, with other top vehicles scoring about 50 percent worse. During testing, the Model S didn’t budge for normal test methods and alternate means were needed to push the car over. Tesla credits its batter pack mounted below the floor plan for the success, proiding a low center of gravity.
5. Elon Musk is the Founder of Tesla Motors
Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla Motors, is getting a lot of publicity these days. Last week, Musk released designs for a high-speed train that would transport passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes, called the Hyperloop.