Business

Tesla's Model S gets rare 5-star rating from the Department of Transportation

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Tesla’s Model S is not only stylish and well-designed, it’s also, really, really safe.

Tesla announced on Monday that the National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA) has given the Model S a perfect 5-star safety rating, a distinction previously given to cars like the Volvo S60.

More interesting than just the rating, however, is that many of the safety considerations of the Model S are just natural byproducts of it being an electric car.

For one, because the car doesn’t have a large gasoline engine block at its front, it has what’s called a longer “crumple zone,” which distributes crash impact over a greater area.

The Model S’s safety levels are also given a boost from its battery pack, which is mounted under its floor and lowers its center of gravity. This reduces the risk of rollovers (and significantly improves the car’s handling, as testers have confirmed).

And speaking of that battery, Tesla also notes that in no tests did the Model S’s battery catch fire — though the company admits that a battery fire is bound to happen some day.

Tesla also points out that the Model S is so sturdy that it broke the NHSA’s roof crush 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,” Tesla brags.

The Model S isn’t new to accolades. Earlier this year it outscored every other car in Consumer Reports’s annual ratings, and last year it became the first electric car to nab top honors from Motor Trends.

Still, the thing to keep in mind here is that the Model S costs at least $60,000, so perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised that it’s been received so well.

But enough about that. Here’s some more crash footage.


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