Tesla Model S Scores Better Than Perfect On Safety Tests

The electric car adds top notch safety to its long list of accolades.

ByABC News
August 20, 2013, 10:41 AM

Aug. 20, 2013— -- Consumer Reports loves Tesla because "its pinpoint handling is reminiscent of a Porsche." Motor Trend Magazine loves Tesla Model S because it's "a gorgeous car and a packaging miracle."

Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration loves it, because it can withstand a hit like no other car they've seen. The Tesla Model S scored five star ratings across all of the NHTSA's crash tests.

The Model S even achieved a better than perfect score.

"Safety levels better than 5 stars are captured in the overall Vehicle Safety Score (VSS) provided to manufacturers," Tesla Motors said in a statement. "The Model S achieved a new combined record of 5.4 stars."

In addition, the Model S did better than cars outside of its own category. The electric vehicle outperformed minivans and SUVs. The modest-sized sedan fared better in crash tests than the hulking beasts of the four-wheeled variety.

Maybe it's because the Model S is entirely electric that helped out with its rating.

"The Model S has the advantage in the front of not having a large gasoline engine block, thus creating a much longer crumple zone to absorb a high speed impact," said Tesla. "The longer the crumple zone, the more time there is to slow down occupants at g loads that do not cause injuries. "

The NHTSA pushed back a bit after Tesla's enthusiastic statement today, saying that it "does not rate vehicles beyond 5 stars and does not rank or order vehicles within the starred categories."

It does appear that Tesla had been working on making safety one of its primary concerns. The company recalled some of their models in June because of a weak mounting bracket in the left back seat. The company's original announcement said that no regulatory agency noticed the flaw, nor were there any injuries reported from the bracket's weakness.

At this point in the Tesla Model S's history, the S may as well stand for Supercar. It appears that any sign of weakness means a chance for improvement. Now, if only they could do something about that $50,000 price tag.