Tesla's Model S Gets Highest Safety Rating from NHTSA, Breaks Roof Testing Machine
August 20, 2013 10:44 AM
Tesla received a combined rating of 5.4 stars
recently received the highest safety rating ever from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
NHTSA gave Tesla's Model S a five-star safety rating in each individual category and overall, achieving a combined rating of 5.4 stars. This is the highest rating ever given by the U.S. agency.
This is a big deal, considering NHTSA only gives about 1 percent of cars tested a five-star rating in every category.
According to Tesla, it grabbed such a high rating for a few different reasons. For starters, the Model S doesn't have a large engine block, which means there's a longer crumple zone to "absorb" a high-speed crash. The motor is only about a foot in diameter and is near the rear axle while the front has a second trunk.
For the rear crash test, Tesla made sure to protect occupants in the third row of the vehicle with a double bumper that can take a highway speed impact.
Tesla added that the Model S was about 50 percent better than its competitors in the rollover test. In fact, the Model S didn't roll over at all through normal methods; it took unique situations to actually turn it over, and Tesla said this is because the battery is mounted below the floor pan for a low center of gravity.
A particularly difficult test to pass, according to Tesla, is the side pole intrusion test, and the Model S was the only vehicle to get a "good" rating in that category among the other top 1 percent of the vehicles tested. This was due to the use of multiple deep aluminum extrusions in the side rail of the Model S, which absorb the impact energy and send the load to the rest of the car.
For those who are worried about battery fires, the Model S' battery was fine before, during and after testing.
But perhaps the most interesting part of the testing was when the Model S' roof broke the machine for roof crush protection. Check this out:
"Of note, during validation of Model S roof crush protection at an independent commercial facility, the testing machine failed at just above 4 g's," said Tesla. "While the exact number is uncertain due to Model S breaking the 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. This is achieved primarily through a center (B) pillar reinforcement attached via aerospace grade bolts."
Tesla is undoubtedly a superhero in the American electric vehicle (EV) industry. It started out with a $465 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in June 2009. The loan, which was part of the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program, was to be repaid by 2022. But in March 2013, Tesla received permission to pay the loan back five years early by mid-2017.
But in May of this year, Tesla has repaid the whole sum --
nine years earlier
than expected from the original 2022 due date.
Clearly, Tesla is making money. For
, Tesla reported a loss of $30.5 million (26 cents a share), which was much narrower than the $105.6 million ($1 a share) loss in the year-ago quarter. The automaker had an adjusted profit of 22 cents, which beat expectations of a non-GAAP loss of 17 cents. In the year-ago quarter, Tesla reported a profit loss of 89 cents.
Revenue jumped to $405.1 million compared to just $26.7 million in the year-ago quarter. Analysts expected a revenue of $383 million for Q2 2013.
Tesla has also started showing off new tech that could transform the electric auto industry. In June, Tesla unveiled a convenient alternative to waiting for a Model S to charge --
. The idea behind battery swapping is to easily open the car chassis to pull the battery out and replace it with a fully charged one. This saves the driver from having to wait for their battery to charge before traveling.
Tesla is also working on a charging system that would get drivers out of the Supercharger stations and back on the road with a full charge
in just 5 minutes
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