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Tesla Model S is the safest car ever tested

Posting in Aerospace

The Tesla Model S electric car has been lauded for its impressive range and for being the car of the year. But that's nothing compared to its latest feat: safest car ever.

According to Tesla, not only did the Model S receive a five-star safety rating across the board from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration -- that alone is a feat achieved by only one percent of cars tested by the federal government -- but they exceeded five stars. How is that possible? Tesla explains:

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.

Of all vehicles tested, including every major make and model approved for sale in the United States, the Model S set a new record for the lowest likelihood of injury to occupants.

What makes the car so safe? For starters, it actually helps that the car isn't gas powered. Not having a gas engine gives the car a longer crumble zone that absorbs more impact in case of a high-speed, head-on crash. In addition, the heavy lithium-ion battery located under the floor makes it less susceptible to rollover.

And then there's this:

Of note, during validation of Model S roof crush protection at an independent commercial facility, the testing machine failed at just above 4 g's. While the exact number is uncertain due to Model S breaking the testing machine, what this means is that at least four additional fully loaded Model S vehicles could be placed on top of an owner's car without the roof caving in. This is achieved primarily through a center (B) pillar reinforcement attached via aerospace grade bolts.

Show off.

Read more: Tesla

Photo: Flickr/jurvetson

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— By on August 20, 2013, 2:32 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure