One area of concern would be owners of electric vehicles sometimes fret over is the safety of the car. Will it survive the same types of impacts as more traditional gas automobiles? Is there a possibility the electric car’s battery might catch fire in an impact? If you own a Tesla Model S, or are considering one, know this – the electric sedan from this niche automotive company just scored what’s said to be not just the best ever safety rating in its sub-category, but also the best ever period.
approximately one percent of all cars tested by the federal government achieve 5 stars across the board. 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.
The ranking the Model S nabbed sets a new record for the lowest likelihood of injury to occupants, according to them, even exceeding the safety score of all SUVs and minivans. This score takes into account the probability of injury from front, side, rear and rollover accidents.
Of course, being that this is an electric vehicle, the lithium-ion battery pack must also be taken into account. Tesla says of this the battery “did not catch fire at any time before, during or after the NHTSA testing” and that “it is worth mentioning that no production Tesla lithium-ion battery has ever caught fire in the Model S or Roadster, despite several high speed impacts. While this is statistically unlikely to remain the case long term, Tesla is unaware of any Model S or Roadster occupant fatalities in any car ever.”
Things which helped give the Model S such a superior safety rating are said to include
- For the front, not having a large gasoline engine block, thus creating a much longer crumple zone to absorb a high speed impact.
- For the side, nesting multiple deep aluminum extrusions in the side rail of the car that absorb the impact energy and transfer load to the rest of the vehicle.
- For the rear, a double bumper that’s installed if a third row seat is ordered.
- For rollover risk, the battery pack is mounted below the floor pan, providing a very low center of gravity, which simultaneously ensures “exceptional handling and safety.”
Tesla looked to be overachieving trying to get the 5-star rating, noting that after internal tests determined the car could hit the mark, the company than analyzed the EV to “determine the weakest points in the car and retested at those locations until the car achieved 5 stars no matter how the test equipment was configured.”