Tesla officially safest car ever tested.

Tesla officially safest car ever tested.

Brian H | August 20, 2013

Put it on over your sport jacket?

shop | August 20, 2013

OMG, Elon really is an alien! He's building a spaceship! How much more obvious can it get?? :-)

ppape | August 20, 2013

Love it! Love it! I didn't think my grin could get any bigger, but it just did!

This isn't surprising news. We've been told this before, we've somewhat expected it.....But somehow, now that the details are revealed and it's all official, it's making me even happier that I expected!

To echo previous comments, this car really is amazing. Cup holders? What missing cup holders?? Let's put things in perspective.....when it comes to the important major issues, Tesla got it all right!

I will also be glancing at the Model X section of the forum today. I think that reservation thread will see some activity!

Grinning a little bigger today.

bradslee | August 20, 2013


If Tesla vs Tesla in a collision, I think the drivers would walk out of their cars whistling and handing over and exchanging their dropped front license plates (if they have those on the front cone) with a high five and off they go.

dstiavnicky | August 20, 2013

This car is so tough... Chuck Norris is afraid of it!

Longhorn92 | August 20, 2013

ppape: they are even covering the cup holders... sort of:

drax7 | August 20, 2013

Unsafe at any speed, is now safe at any speed. This car will travel.

nole90 | August 20, 2013 how do you fix it,how long does it take, who does the repairs and how much does it cost? All valid questions.

Bubba2000 | August 20, 2013

Over time, Tesla could improve on the safety features by adding:
1. Smart cruise control that can track the car in front and optimize use of energy while changing speed.
2. Blind spot detectors
3. Multiple cameras
4. Phased array sensors that give an image of what is around.
5. Active collision avoidance features.

Some of these features are available with the MB S550/2014. With all the car wrecks that I have seen, we need a lot of idiot proof active features as well. Here are some of the tragedies that happen:
1. Not using seat belts including child seats
2. Running stop signs or stop lights... or somebody else doing it.
3. The car in front stomps of the brakes too fast and the tailgater rear ends. Big pile ups.
4, Head on collision when somebody looses control or falls asleep.
5. Run over somebody or back on somebody.

mrspaghetti | August 20, 2013

@nole90 - Don't pee on the campfire bro, we're still roasting marshmallows

archibaldcrane | August 20, 2013

The Model S is so safe, if you get into an accident your health improves.

rch1708 | August 20, 2013

If a Tesla versus Tesla crash could result in the end of the world, why the hell do we need the Large Hadron Collider? Could the Model S lead to Tesla developing a line of affordable partical accelerators?

EdieMilo | August 20, 2013

@mrspaghetti ++100

EXACTLY what I was thinking. very well said :-)

Vevans2 | August 20, 2013

Ok I can make this simple. Tesla Model S won car of the year. To add, It received the highest score ever. Now Tesla Model S won safest car of the year setting the safest score ever. Translation. Tesla Model S is the best car..... There is not any competition.

Alaa | August 20, 2013

I think that all new cars sold in the world should be as safe if not better than the Tesla Model S. After all we are talking about human lives here.

dougarcher26 | August 20, 2013

I love that they couldn't even get the car to flip over!

Olof | August 20, 2013

This result is totally awesome. Congrats Tesla! Feels good to be shareholder and MS owner now.
I remember when Elon said on Teslive an unknown fact about the MS, which was that safety was its main design priority. Nobody paid much attention then but...

I think this car will hit like a bomb on the European market which is safety conscious, let alone the fact that their price of gas that is double the US price but electricity is about the same. | August 20, 2013


Congrats to Tesla!

Keep fighting --- never stop until every other car / truck on the road is Tesla Motors.


Don't not let your guard down!

JPPTM | August 20, 2013

Maybe slightly off topic, but a related automotible safety issue is the ability to avoid an accident and get out of trouble. Excellent handling, great acceleration, superb braking all contribute to this. As I recall, Porsche has had a high rating for safety (injury/loss of life) attributed to these key features. I wonder if over time these factors will also be attributable to the Model S. FWIW, I know that the immediate throttle (...accelerator) response, the ability to 'surgically' insert my S into traffic, the incredible stablity and 'stick to the road' feeling, the inability to roll the car, and the massive brakes all make me feel more confident. Time will tell.

J.T. | August 20, 2013

@noel90 getting structure repairs can take months and cost thousands upon thousands of dollars. Just so you know I was traveling on I87 in NY at 75 mph when some highway debris came into my lane. Couldn't be avoided and as I hit it I realized it was the fender of a car. It went under my car and I heard scraping. Pulled into the next rest stop and saw a few scratches on the nose and front bumper. Took it into tesla and they said that there was no damage to the battery or undercarriage. They sold me a tube of touch up pant or $20 + tax and after they did a little cosmetic surgery I was on my way. A car fender at 75 and I was good to go for $21.90.
The answers to your question can be almost anywhere on that scale but I feel you're not looking at this correctly. Shit happens to everyone all the time, but the enjoyment before and after is what makes it bearable. Buy the car, enjoy the ride and enjoy life and when it goes sour suck it up.

PabloE | August 20, 2013

The press release states that rear crash testing was done, but I can't find anything from the NHTSA on it.

I've asked Tesla, but they have not been able to provide me anything either.

The quote, " permanently disabling injury to the third row occupants." is making me re-think my third row seat order.

It seems to indicate a serious injury is possible, after all "permanently disabling" is a very low bar to set.

I really wish Tesla would share more data on the third row safety for rear end collisions.

I'd love to know at what speeds I could expect no or minimal injury then maybe I just let the kids use those seats around town and not at highway speeds to insure my kids won't have a major injury.

Anyone have more data on this?

SamO | August 20, 2013


"The rear crash testing was particularly important, given the optional third row children's seat. For this, Tesla factory installs a double bumper if the third row seat is ordered. This was needed in order to protect against a highway speed impact in the rear with no permanently disabling injury to the third row occupants. The THIRD ROW is already the SAFEST location in the car for frontal or side injuries."

emphasis added

Brian H | August 20, 2013

I recall someone reported exactly that, an emergency maneuver that only Tesla instant response could have achieved, preventing a very serious collision.

RationalOptimist | August 20, 2013

I'm as thrilled as everyone by this news. I only have one concern. The unintended consequences of safe equipment. There's a long history of surprises here. NFL helmets did not in the end reduce injuries because players just hurled themselves more aggressively at other players. Cycling safety gear changes behavior as riders feel more confident and there's evidence that injuries can actually increase. Wider road lanes often increase fatalities because drivers feel safer and drive faster.

You get where I"m heading. The Model S feels so damn safe that I worry it may induce over-confidence in some drivers. As a community we owe it to ourselves to remember that shuttling around in a silent metal box at 70mph is inherently dangerous, if not to us, then to others! If we get so confident in our uncrashable vehicles, within a year or two, the crash stats will start to surprise the wrong way.

Wear a Tesla smile... but buckle up and drive safely!!

Dalec | August 20, 2013

Let's see now... if and when Tesla has a need to advertise, where do they start???

Safest car on the planet
Highest rated car on the planet
Lowest "fuel" cost per mile of any luxury vehicle (even free)
Highest interior capacity of any luxury sedan, by far
Best acceleration of any $100K luxury sedan
Lowest coefficient of drag of any sedan
Lowest center of gravity of any luxury sedan (not even close)
Largest panoramic roof on any vehicle
Designed by rocket scientists and built by robots in California

No more: oil changes, wasting time and being robbed/carjacked at gas stations, emissions testing, timing belt changing, unscrupulous dealerships and repair shops, transmission/clutch repairs, blown head gaskets, spark plugs, jerky acceleration, engine noise, death from carbon monoxide poisoning, etc. etc.

Imagine a world where all cars are Teslas, and someone invents an ICE car. They would be put in jail.

ENGINEER | August 20, 2013

So I saw a white Model S on the road as I was crossing an intersection and screamed pretty loudly and annoyed my brother. The first time I've ever seen one on the road! As for the safety rating, "Yahoo! Autos" has a pretty neat GIF of a MS crashing into a wall at 35mph in a blog that surprisingly doesn't suck:

  • Allow me to warn you guys beforehand of various ignorant outcries in the comment section...

    Jamon | August 20, 2013

    @Dalec +1.
    And +100 for your conclusion: "Imagine a world where all cars are Teslas, and someone invents an ICE car. They would be put in jail."

    Perfectly simple summary of the culmination of all of Tesla's achievements. Exactly the sentiment Elon has been aiming for.

    PabloE | August 20, 2013


    Not sure I understand your comment. I am concerned with


    crashes and the the 3rd row seating, not front or side impacts where it makes sense that the 3rd row is the safest.

    defmonk | August 20, 2013

    How refreshing to read a thread with something other than Lexus owners whining about cup holders, spare tires and grab handles. Well done, TMC.

    ThomasK | August 20, 2013

    Is this where I whine about parking sensors, hill hold and cup holders?

    portia | August 20, 2013

    @Bubba2000 see‐View-Mirrors-to-Eliminate-Blind-Spots on how to set your mirrors to have no blind spots.

    do be careful driving still, the other car won't fair so well and it will still ruin your day.

    well done Tesla!

    Brian H | August 20, 2013

    The rear crashes were part of the test. All jump seat cars have special reinforcement.

    Mathew98 | August 21, 2013

    It's the double rear bumpers for any MS with the jumpseats option.

    mrspaghetti | August 21, 2013

    @PabloE: It seems to indicate a serious injury is possible

    Is there any place in any car ever made where a serious injury is not possible? For that matter, is there any location or activity that cannot result in serious injury?

    Better cancel your order, sell any other cars you have and stay home.

    Tiebreaker | August 21, 2013

    I tend to disagree: Home is a very unsafe place.

    So get out of home, buy a Model S and live long and prosperous.


    bbryant | August 21, 2013

    Elon said he would deliver ultimate safety. WOW
    WELL DONE ELON.......

    Brian H | August 21, 2013

    If you're at home and a Model S crashes into your living room, the driver is at lesser risk than you are.

    mrspaghetti | August 21, 2013

    I wonder what the crash test rating of Elon's ship hidden in the barn at Smallville is?

    archibaldcrane | August 21, 2013

    The NHTSA is pushing back a bit on the "5.4" claim - basically stock language that 5 stars is the best you can do, there is no higher - however, they don't specifically mention the "VSS" that Tesla claims is provided to manufacturers. I'm sure they don't want to get into a dick-measuring contest of whose 5-star rating is the best.

    " The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is pushing back on Tesla Motors' claim that its Model S car had a crash test rating greater than five stars. The car, the agency says, was a stellar performer, but not off the scale as its manufacturer claims.

    On, the branch of NHTSA that specializes in car safety, the Tesla Model S scored five stars in all of the crash test categories: no less, and definitely no more.

    "The agency's 5-Star Safety Ratings program is designed to provide consumers with information about the crash protection," NHTSA said in a statement. "NHTSA does not rate vehicles beyond 5 stars and does not rank or order vehicles within the star ratings." NHTSA also released several videos of the Tesla Model S crash tests.

    The five-star rating system that NHTSA uses is based on the likelihood that a driver or passenger will be injured in an accident. NHTSA also provides additional measurements of safety, which according to a Tesla spokesperson, the company combined to produce the 5.4 star rating.

    Clarence Ditlow, the director of the Center of Auto Safety, told ABC News that the Tesla Model S did earn very high marks on NHTSA's crash tests. However, he also says that Tesla Motors's spin on the score is misleading. "No matter what, you can't say it's the safest car ever tested, just that it had the best overall test score of any vehicle tested by NHTSA."

    So the question is - does the VSS (Vehicle Safety Score) that Tesla claims is provided to manufacturers exist? If so, did Tesla score a 5.4? If so, has any other car received a 5.4 or higher VSS? Those are the questions that the NHTSA need to confirm or deny if they're going to say it is or isn't the safest car ever tested. I doubt they are going to confirm or deny, they are just going to stick to the line of "5 stars is the highest, that's all we publicly rate".

    GeekEV | August 21, 2013

    The data probably does exist and does average out to a 5.4 as Tesla says it does. But I think you're absolutely right that the NHTSA doesn't want to start (or be percieved as participating in) a pissing contest of whose 5 star is best. Tesla should, IMHO, step back from the 5.4 figure and stick to 5 stars. But it's perfectly fair of them to say that the "raw data would support a higher score." Just don't actually go there...

    Mark K | August 21, 2013

    Tricky point to navigate here.

    It's understandable why the director would need to be reserved about quoting numbers beyond their standard metrics.

    But I think Elon will find the right tone to communicate what is in fact true here, while maintaining a good relationship with the agency.

    Elon can simply offer to publish data provided by any other other car makers that shows test results proving that another production vehicle is better.

    It doesn't exist.

    cpurkiser | August 21, 2013

    So nobody has every died driving a Tesla. The more interesting question is has any Tesla owner died of anything ever? If not the PR/marketing department needs to make put out a press releases.
    "Tesla owners are immortal :D"

    Tesluthian | August 21, 2013

    Way to go Elon and team. Time to start referring to the Model S as the "Safest Car In The World". Go Tesla!

    PabloE | August 21, 2013


    It is unfortunate that you can't engage in an objective debate, it is obvious that you've drank the koolaid and Tesla can do no wrong, but you are missing the point.

    The 5 star rating on means exactly what you purport doesn't exist. For frontal and side crashes there is NOT a significant risk of serious injury in a Model S, which I am thrilled about but that does not seem to be the case for a child siting in the rear facing seats in a rear-end collision.

    There seems to be data because Tesla references it in their press release but it hasn't been made available, so all I am asking for is the data, so I can make an informed decision about when it is appropriate for my children to sit in the jump seats.

    But you go ahead and put your head in the sand, I'm just not that type of person, trust but verify.

    Longhorn92 | August 21, 2013

    @archibaldcrane: I can't answer all your questions, but when NHSTA reconfigured their ratings starting with the 2011 models, they did institute the overall Vehicle Safety Score (VSS). Here is a link to a document on their website, and if you look at the last paragraph on the first page, the VSS is mentioned:

    Longhorn92 | August 21, 2013

    NHTSA, not NHSTA

    J.T. | August 21, 2013

    @PabloE The rear seats and the additional reinforcement were designed the way they were not because there was going to be data that would support their suppositions but because Elon was putting his kids back there.

    mrspaghetti | August 21, 2013

    @PabloE: The 5 star rating on means exactly what you purport doesn't exist.

    The only thing I claim does not exist is a guarantee of perfect safety in this world, or any other. Yet that does seem to be what you are asking for. Good luck with that.