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2013 Tesla Model S: Is This the Safest Car Sold?

August 21, 2013

2013 Tesla Model S

In a recent update we noted how the 2013 Tesla Model S earned a top five-star rating in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's battery of tests.

Interestingly, Tesla posted a press release about those results a few days ago. Basically, Tesla claims that the Model S not only gets a five-star rating, it has the best scores of any car sold, period.

Now, it's true that no car can earn better than a published NHTSA five-star rating. So in that sense, the Model S is equal to any other car with five stars across the board, such as a Honda Odyssey or Volvo S60.

But Tesla says that detailed, behind-the-scenes crash information is provided to automakers, and from that information, it's possible to extrapolate how five-star cars compare to each other. And from this, Tesla says in its press release that the Model S does better, or has the lowest likelihood of injury, of any car sold.

From our standpoint, Tesla's claims are unverifiable. But I found the overall information in Tesla's press release to be quite interesting nonetheless.

You can read the full release here.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

Most Recommended Comments

By jim_in_nj
on 08/21/13
1:19 PM PST

@quadricycle, " How about revealing some details from this report that support their conclusion." Um, you just have to click on the link at the end of the article. Here are a few details: NHTSA does not publish a star rating above 5, however safety levels better than 5 stars are captured in the overall Vehicle Safety Score (VSS) provided to manufacturers, where the Model S achieved a new combined record of 5.4 stars..... Compared to the Volvo S60, which is also 5-star rated in all categories, the Model S preserved 63.5 percent of driver residual space vs. 7.8 percent for the Volvo. ...during validation of Model S roof crush protection at an independent commercial facility, the testing machine failed at just above 4 g's. .....The Model S was also substantially better in rollover risk, with the other top vehicles being approximately 50 percent worse. During testing at an independent facility, the Model S refused to turn over via the normal methods and special means were needed to induce the car to roll.

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By quadricycle
on 08/21/13
12:23 PM PST

"Tesla's claims are unverifiable." That's the heart of it. How about revealing some details from this report that support their conclusion. Otherwise, this might as well be a junior-high research paper.

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