NHTSA crash tests videos

NHTSA crash tests videos

I'm not sure if these have already been posted somewhere on the site, but I came across some of the NHTSA crash testing videos on the Model S. It looks like the rating will be released soon( or already has been released). The Youtube video says that is 5 star crash tested. Seeing those Model S's get hit over and over again was a little painful to see, but also very reassuring.

NHTSA Side Pole Impact

NHTSA Side Impact

NHTSA Frontal Impact

NKYTA | August 7, 2013

"was a little painful to see"
More than a little painful, IMO. But sure looks like my girl can take it and happy about that!

DonS | August 7, 2013

Interesting video, but I don't think any safety conclusions can be drawn yet. The sensor data from the test dummies will need to analyzed to see just how hard a real person would have been whacked.

jed-99aggie | August 7, 2013


I know that Elon has made this a key criteria, but always good to see in formal results.

Here is the NHTSA website should take you right to the Tesla Model S page. Looks like they are still updating the detailed page.

Combine this with today's earnings and the future is looking even brighter for TSLA.

nickjhowe | August 7, 2013

Great find! Thanks for posting. Hopefully the official ratings will follow soon.

Devin B | August 7, 2013

DonS, the description says:

Published on Aug 7, 2013

Earned ***** Overall. (NHTSA Five Star Car)

justineet | August 7, 2013

Most of the staff looked pretty good to me. But did I see the back seat come apart with the frontal test?? Look at the back seat view from the frontal impact I seeing right or what??

justineet | August 7, 2013

Maybe Tesla timed their their Q2 reporting to come out with the crush test result........I think the crash test was just released today but it's curious why there was not any mention of it in the media........

Mark K | August 7, 2013

Re: back seat - I think that's what prompted the recall. The welds on one batch were compromised, which TM fixed under the recall. The first car NHTSA got was from that three week build period, and I think TM supplied a corrected replacement for further testing. I think you are seeing the pre-fix rear seat in some of those videos.

Overall, I'm totally stoked at how well the car performed. That side pole impact on the sled is unbelievable. Horrifically violent impact right next to your body, and yet the occupants were fully protected by the safety cocoon. Boron steel B pillar. Door guard beams and welded door structure, and side curtain plus pelvis air bags.

Nothing on the road can touch this car for safety.

It's reason enough to buy this car over the usual suspects on this point alone.

My wife is safe now :)

JZ13 | August 7, 2013

sayidredi - great post. Thanks! This is gonna be a good day for the stock when the official results are released.

justineet | August 7, 2013

@Mark K.....hope they post the video after the fix too. It seems to me it's taken care of because the government's safety site gives Tesla overall 5 star rating including for frontal impact test, which I believe the only car currently with 5-star rating.

diegoPasadena | August 7, 2013

Notice the emergency flashers come on right after impact. I wonder if this is a Tesla-only feature, or if this is a general safety feature that other cars have, too.

dortor | August 7, 2013

having been in a pretty awful 911 accident the safety lights came on in that as well - I think it's pretty common these days.

justineet | August 7, 2013

guess rear crash test is not standard deal.

Amped | August 7, 2013

Thanks for posting. I did not have time to listen in to Q2 today and was wondering if it would come up.

ian | August 7, 2013

I don't think this testing prompted the recall at all. It has been said that the welding insufficiency was caught on the line. This just looks like the rear seat bottom coming loose with the impact. They are really quite easy to remove in most cars. Just grab the back and yank up. They are usually just held on with a few plastic clips.


tobi_ger | August 7, 2013

Quite impressive videos, the airbags for both front and rear side impacts look great.
The only driver injury could be from the flying center rear-mirror. ;)

shop | August 8, 2013

Pole impact looked really good. I wonder if the strong battery casing on the floor was a reason the car resisted the pole so well?

cybrown | August 8, 2013

Are the results on that page complete now? I see 5 stars for everything. Are there more results to come?

Longhorn92 | August 8, 2013

I looked through the full list of sedans (current models), and it appears that the Model S is currently the safest among all sedans (likely other car categories as well, but I didn't check). Even among the few other vehicles that had five-star ratings for every test AND every passenger position (I think there was a 2014 Cadillac, Camaro, and Volvo), the Model S still had the lowest percentage chance of rollover, so I will count that as a differentiating factor.

@cybrown: yes, it appears that everything is there now.

jeffrese | August 8, 2013

Where are the videos for rear crash tests with kids in the rumble seats? I would love to get one but I'm afraid the kids will get crushed in a rear end crash.

petero | August 8, 2013

Slightly off subject, I wonder how the pano roof holds up in these types of crashes?

Longhorn92 | August 8, 2013

@jeffrese: I'm not aware of the NHTSA ever doing any rear crash testing nor any third-row testing on any vehicle (including SUVs/minivans that have forward-facing third-row seats), so unfortunately, I don't think you will be getting any test results of that nature. I agree that, given the third-row seats in the Model S are rear-facing, a rear crash test would be a good thing to perform.

Kimscar | August 8, 2013

What about the head on crash test that is modified to be off center. That is one of the hardest tests to pass. I had assumed they will run that test? The MS should stand out in that test. I'm thinking testing isn't complete yet.

hillcountryfun | August 8, 2013

I'm waiting for someone in the media to state the obvious, "This is the safest sedan ever made!"...

KennyB@US-FL | August 8, 2013

@Kimscar-NHTSA does not do the front offset crash test. That is performed by the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). I too wonder if they've purchased a Model S to do this crash test. Right now Tesla is not on their dropdown on cars tested.

gill_sans | August 8, 2013

@jeffrese At Teslive, Elon said (if I recall correctly) that safety was a top priority for Model S. The rear of the Model S, where the rear-facing seats are, is actually the safest part of the car. It'd be good to see some testing data proving this, I agree.

Tâm | August 8, 2013

@sayidreddy & @jed-99aggie

Thanks so much for the links!

Doug H | August 8, 2013

Thanks for posting. Just went on a 2500 mile trip around the midwest. I went from Atlanta to Chicago, Chicago to Detroit, then Detroit back to Atlanta.

I grew up in my father's body shop in Detroit. This is the best car I've ever driven in every situation.

I'm glad to see that it is also the safest.

BTW: I let my 90 year old father drive my MS. He was thrilled. He said all cars have to go this way.

RAFellows | August 8, 2013

It's up on the NFTAS site now. Check it out here:

JZ13 | August 8, 2013

@hillcountryfun - I agree with you. Why hasn't anyone written an article with the headline "Tesla is the safest car ever tested"? Or why no press release from Tesla? CNN money did a brief video that's up but I'm looking for headline news.

dortor | August 8, 2013

frontal impact crash - the windshield didn't even break - impressive - did anyone else notice the deformation on the roof of the car behind the b-pillar during the accident - interesting illustration of load distribution (not speaking to intentional or not) - still I thought it was kinda of interesting to see force being distributed to that portion of the roof…

justineet | August 8, 2013

@dortor.....not windshield crack issue with Tesla :)

nkinkaid | August 8, 2013

Tesla and NHTSA confirm that significant lifting of the second row seat pan upon impact as seen in the video of NCAP frontal crash testing is not a normal occurrence on Model S. Instead, this anomaly is due to the placement and installation of sensors, cables, cameras and other test equipment used to document the NCAP testing. During this process, the test facility partially removed the second row seat pan and did not fully reinstall it. This partial removal had no effect whatsoever on NHTSA’s NCAP test results. Normally, under non-testing conditions, the Model S second row seat is locked into place with a series of clips and fasteners. The second row seat pan will not lift in the event of a crash.

For more information on Model S's recent five star crash safety rating, email or call (877) 798-3752.

Brian H | August 8, 2013

I think I saw a quarter rear impact video some time ago, in a Straubel (?) presentation.

Also, I believe the MS achieved 5* in each category, not just the overall. Much harder. Elon said they built to a 6* standard, and TM's internal tests were tougher than the official ones.

GeekEV | August 8, 2013

@nkinkaid - Thanks for that! You guys must be very proud.

GeekEV | August 8, 2013

@Kimscar & KennyB-FLL - There's been a real world frontal offset crash well documented on the forums here. The Model S performed amazingly well, not so much for the other car. Later in the thread there are some good pictures of the Model S and you can see how well it held up.

It's kind of brutal if you're at all sensitive to such things, but here it is: