back to article US highway agency awards Tesla Model S record safety score

Champagne corks are likely popping in the corner offices of Tesla Motors in celebration over the carmaker's Model S sedan achieving the highest safety rating ever awarded in the US. "Independent testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has awarded the Tesla Model S a 5-star safety rating, not just …


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  1. Major Variola

    its the drivers, stupid

    Tesla drivers are going to be high-G people. They die in accidents less, except for private-plane accidents.

    Read the Bell Curve.

    Or, don't.

    1. LarsG


      And they claimed the Titanic was unsinkable.

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: Yep

        Nobody tested the Titanic's claims though. The first test did not go well.

        1. Robert Helpmann??

          Re: Yep

          Nobody tested the Titanic's claims though. The first test did not go well.

          The second test went a bit better, with less loss of life.

          1. Dapprman
            Thumb Up

            Re: Yep

            There was a nurse who survived all three tests !!! (o.k. the last one did not result in a sinking, but I seem to rememebr reading they still did an Abandom Ship for safety.


      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Yep

        Actually, "they" didn't. All those claims happened after the event.

        The ship was designed with a number of safety features which would have saved it in most cases but it was never claimed to be unsinkable.

    2. Psyx

      Re: its the drivers, stupid

      "its the drivers, stupid"

      Oh right. So car safety ratings are based on who drives them.

      So how come Volvos get such high marks?

  2. Hud Dunlap

    But can it handle a rollover like this.

  3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Oh wonderfull

    A silent car owned by rich people who think they are invulnerable

    Time to fit that RPG to my bike

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Does the stereo volume go to 11?

    I'm sure Nigel Tumsel would buy one......

    1. fandom

      Re: Does the stereo volume go to 11?

      Actually it does.

      Good guess there

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But, but, but...

    ...if you believe the hype, Tesla should get a 10,000 star rating...according to Elon.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trade in value will make it or break it.

    Well, it looks like Tesla's got all but one of the boxes ticked now. Range, performance, reliability (if stats so far are to be believed) and safety. What remains is the trade-in value. For me as a business owner this is important, anyway. It is, after all, quite an expensive vehicle, and I need to know what it will be worth after it's written off.

    And, unfortunately, I do not have high hopes. Considering the price of the battery pack and the pace at which the technology is still advancing a 4 or 5 year old 100K Tesla may prove to be an unwanted relic .

    I'm watching, though.

    1. GettinSadda
      Thumb Up

      Re: Trade in value will make it or break it.

      They have done as much to tick that last box as they can.

      Elon Musk has guaranteed that the buyback price of a used Tesla will never be lower than an equivalent second-hand Mercedes-Benz S Class. There is even cover if Tesla were to go out of business:

      "Even if Tesla is unable to honor it, I will personally do so. That's what I mean by putting my money where my mouth is," said Musk in a conference call with reporters. Asked his net worth, he deferred, but said estimates of $11 billion were a "bit too generous."

    2. Nigel 11

      Re: Trade in value will make it or break it.

      a 4 or 5 year old 100K Tesla may prove to be an unwanted relic .

      Or a design classic. It's certainly one of the more attractive vehicles out there, and it will almost certainly be seen as the first successful electric car. Beautiful and historically important. IMO more so on both fronts than, say, a mark 1 Porsche 911 or an E-type Jag.

      As for advancing battery technology: if batteries in five years time have twice the capacity, surely someone will work out how to retro-fit a better battery into a Tesla? Also a lot of the cost of a battery pack is the raw material (Lithium) it contains. You should get a large trade-in allowance against a new one, and an appropriate payment for the one in a scrapped car.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Easily explained..

    Obviously a car which doesn't run anymore also won't be able to cause much casualties.

    Well, either that or I have been watching Top Gear a little too much ;)

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    The battery pack is an issue on trade in value.OTOH remember what happens to BHP?

    TG might not be the most reliable motoring programme on TV but their point that cars "lose" BHP over time is real. Engine pushes the parts out of spec and I guess to keep them in spec it should be stripped down and the relevant bits replaced or re bored every few years. Not something that seems to happen IRL.

    So the question is how easy is it to change that battery pack?

    But these safety tests, how does it compare with something like a Mercedes S class? That should get top marks too. It's built like a tank.

    1. fandom

      Re: The battery pack is an issue on trade in value.OTOH remember what happens to BHP?

      With the right equipment it is pretty easy

    2. pwibble
      Thumb Up

      Re: The battery pack is an issue on trade in value.OTOH remember what happens to BHP?

      How easy is it to change that battery pack? Well, they did it in about 1minute 30 seconds....faster than filling the tank of a conventional car.

    3. Nigel 11
      Thumb Down

      Re: The battery pack is an issue on trade in value.OTOH remember what happens to BHP?

      It's built like a tank.

      Which is NOT the right way to build a safe car. Run a tank-like vehicle into an equally solid obstacle (such as a bridge pier) and the occupants are subjected to a very high G force. They'll therefore suffer greater injury. The seat belts and airbags will do theit best to cushion them, but there's only half a meter or so of cushioning there.

      As the article says, a Tesla has a front boot, all of which is engineered as a crumple zone. It therefore has an engine's length of extra crumple-distance than a front-engined car, meaning it's got maybe twice the distance for the passenger cell to decelerate within, thereby subjecting the occupants to half the force.

      In reality it's not quite as great an advantage as that example, because front-engined cars aren't that badly designed. They're designed to crumple so the engine is forced downwards and the passenger cell rides upwards over the engine. In other words, not at all solid like a tank!

      1. Matt 21

        Re: The battery pack is an issue on trade in value.OTOH remember what happens to BHP?

        Plus this was an American "test" so let's see what NCAP have to say before we get too excited.

        1. TechW

          Plus this was an American "test"

          So, you automatically assume testing in America is unreliable? Testing methodology used by the NHTSA is no secret, (you may have mentally removed the HT and confused them with another agency, so perhaps you and others can tell me how it fails to be valid?

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Plus this was an American "test"

            >Testing methodology used by the NHTSA is no secret,

            Stereo loud enough for other cars to hear it at freeway speeds - check

            Ability to drift across 4 lanes of a freeway without indicating - check

            Can fit into McDs drive thru - check

            At least 4x 196oz super-duper-slurp compatible cupholders per person - check

            Equivalent turning circle to a super tanker - check

            1. TechW

              Re: Plus this was an American "test"

              Loud stereo, seriously? Obviously you don't live in LA. This is considered a "feature" here...

              Ability to drift across 4 lanes of freeway without indicating. Is there any car that forces the driver to signal his intentions or does it automatically for him? Not signaling happens here on a regular basis unfortunately. It would be a nice feature but how do you mark a car down for that if, generally, other cars do not support this feature?

              I'm sorry, I totally don't get the McDs reference or how the cup holders are relevant.

              Turning radius? Is it that bad on the Tesla Model S? How does it really matter as a safety concern? Genuinely interested in intelligent answers here.

              This was a crash safety test we are talking about. I do not see that any of your points are relevant in this context.

      2. veeguy
        Thumb Down

        Re: The battery pack is an issue on trade in value.OTOH remember what happens to BHP?

        If the front "trunk" is empty or filled with packing peanuts, it will make a great crumple zone. If, on the other hand you have 4 sets of golf clubs in there you may be impaled with multiple graphite spears. Or if you are transporting 8 cases of dynamite and blasting caps or perhaps a load of anvils, your crash test results may vary.

        I am so over people "gushing" over how great this crapwagon is. If it wasn't for the $7500.- subsidy Uncle Sam is pick pocketing out of MY wallet, the sales would not be half of current levels.

  9. mhenriday
    Big Brother

    Does this mean

    that if Michael Hastings had been driving a Tesla S, he wouldn't have died in a single «accident» in which his vehicle hit a tree and burst into fire ? CIA-proof, in other words ?...


  10. Anomalous Cowshed

    Tesla model S, safest car

    For the time being at least. In China, they are currently working on a new electric car, to be known as the Edward Snowden e-car, which will be even safer, because, thanks to its multiple levels of reporting devices accessible by sundry authorities (government, local council, wife, employer) in return for a fee, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear!

    1. ian 22

      Re: Tesla model S, safest car

      Having spoken with users (not owners) of Chinese-made autos, Geely brand specifically, they have garnered a reputation for fragility. The autos, not the users, although humans are reputed to be rather squishy.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    5.4 in a US safety standard - what's that in a European NCAP measurements?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      approximately 0.0...

  12. Ged T

    Bitchy last line...

    ...."And about that battery: perhaps Boeing Dreamliner engineers should make a visit to Tesla's Fremont, California auto plant."....

    ....but a point well made.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Bitchy last line...

      Or maybe in light of those issues, Elon should have kept his mouth shut instead of taunting Mr. Murphy.

      Don't get me wrong, I hope Elon is correct. But only time will tell.

  13. Velv

    Yup, stationary cars don't tend to hit pedestrians

  14. Don Jefe


    It's not really too much of a surprise that the safety ratings are so high. They've had a blank slate to work with: Very, very rarely do automobile manufacturers have that opportunity.

    Every mainstream manufacturer has an incredibly large investment in production equipment as do the parts suppliers. They can't retool everything for a new model, so a large percentage of the parts base is reused across many models for many years. All that means manufacturers have what they have and it won't change for long periods of time, if ever.

  15. stu 4

    Front 'trunk'

    Er... I assume that was tested with the 'trunk' at the front empty.

    What if it was full ? What if it was full of, say, a section of massive pieces of jaggy stee,l you were transporting somewhere ?

    Though removing the engine, they have surely added a new variable to a crash ? (not new - I mean other mid/rear engine cars have front boots... I'm just saying...)

    anyway electric/all cars are still fecking stupid - If we got rid of the dumb electric bike laws in this country, a safe electric bicycle could do 30mph and 30 miles of a charge (currently limited to 15mph). That would cover a large percentage of peoples commuting needs... would be cheap (<1000 quid), no stupid massive batteries, or transporting 90% dead weight around, etc. etc....

    stu (3 electric bikes... though i do also have 3 cars... so not claiming green credentials - just saying)

    1. Psyx

      Re: Front 'trunk'

      It's pretty absurd if you genuinely feel that a Tesla should be loaded with crap to handicap it in safety tests. Do other cars have to have their boots loaded? No, because it would be stupid.

      "anyway electric/all cars are still fecking stupid"

      Good to hear that you have an open mind, though.

    2. Nigel 11

      Re: Front 'trunk'

      Mostly trunks aren't completely full with solid stuff. If they are, the car is almost certainly dangerously overloaded (and being used way outside its specification, so any consequences are definitely its user's fault). Usually, baggage is light and squashy stuff (like clothes or desktop PCs).

      For reference, a cubic meter of concrete is about 2.5 tons. The maximum permitted load for a typical car, (evenly distributed between both axles, and including the passengers) is in the ballpark of 1.5 tons. Probably quite a bit less for a sports vehicle like a Tesla, and at most half at the front.

    3. Don Jefe

      Re: Front 'trunk'

      You're Right! All cars should be filled with jaggy steel for crash testing. It's not fair that trucks have to be loaded with rocks and SUV's have to be filled with bricks during testing but sports cars are exempt. Minivans are filled with molten glass for their tests! People carry CHIlDREN in minivans!!!!

      This is PROOF that the liberal elite hate blue collar workers and want to kill them by making them drive unsafe vehicles! GASOLINE TASTES LIKE CHICKEN!

      Jesus. How do people like this even manage to register for a user account?

      1. stu 4

        Re: Front 'trunk' american meets sarcasm..strangers in the night.

        never mind... keep reading El Reg.. you might get there eventually.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The same score

    The Tesla models got the same score as full size pick-up trucks costing a third of the price.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: The same score

      The Tesla model actually scored worse in hauling and towing capacity!

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