Tesla Model S aces NHTSA crash test

The Model S is the safest car the NHTSA has ever tested.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has awarded the Tesla Model S a 5.4-star overall crash test rating and five stars in every sub-category. The rating sets a new record and makes the Model S the safest car, van or SUV ever sold in the United States.

Since the Model S does not have an engine, Tesla engineers were able to create a large crumple zone from the base of the windshield forward that absorbs a great amount of energy upon impact.

"Just like jumping into a pool of water from a tall height, it is better to have the pool be deep and not contain rocks," explained Tesla in a statement.

The Model S is the only car tested by the NHTSA to receive a "good" rating in the side pole intrusion test thanks to energy-absorbing extrusions mounted in the side rails of the car. Directly inspired by the Apollo Lunar Lander, the technology protects 63.5 percent of driver residual space in the event of accident.

The extremely low center of gravity made possible by the lithium-ion battery pack forced the testers to use a special method to roll the car over. It passed the test with flying colors.

Finally, the Model S aced the roof crush test by literally breaking the test machine. Thanks in part to a reinforced B-pillar attached with aerospace-grade bolts, the sedan's roof structure can withstand the weight of four additional fully-loaded Model S without caving in.

Tesla points out that the Model S' lithium-ion battery pack did not catch fire in any of the NHTSA's tests.

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