Cars teslalogo

Published on December 26th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan


Tesla Model S 5-Star Safety Rating Reaffirmed By NHTSA

December 26th, 2013 by  

teslalogoThis is really not very big news — the Model S is considered to be the safest car in mass production… well, the safest car ever produced for the mass market. However, in the midst of ridiculous overhype about a few fires connected to the Model S (while ignoring the hundreds of thousands that occur in gasmobiles every year), Tesla felt the need to get public reaffirmation from the NHTSA on how incredibly safe the Model S is. Here’s a Tesla Motors statement regarding that (links added):

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reaffirmed the 5-star safety rating of the Tesla Model S overall and in all subcategories for Model Year 2014, confirming the highest safety rating in America. While Tesla is awaiting feedback from NHTSA regarding their investigation of recent fire incidents, the German Federal Motor Transport Authority, Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA), recently concluded its review of the incidents, finding no manufacturer-related defects or need for further action.

It is worth noting that a Tesla vehicle is over five times less likely to experience a fire than the average gasoline car and that there have been zero serious injuries or deaths for any reason ever, fire or otherwise, in a Model S. Over the course of more than 100 million miles driven in almost every possible terrain, weather and crash conditions, the Tesla Model S has consistently protected its driver and passengers, achieving the best safety track record of any car on the road.

With only about 22% of the population familiar with the Model S, it would be a shame to see many of the unaware learn about the Model S through a fire. However, on the other hand, maybe it would be a useful window into the car, if such a person went on to learn of the tremendous safety record of the vehicle.

Indeed, Model S drivers who have actually been in a crash with the vehicle are now even more impressed by the car.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) one letter at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of EV Obsession, Gas2, Solar Love, Planetsave, or Bikocity; or as president of Important Media. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, energy storage, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media:, .

  • StefanoR99

    The EV fires rumor is one that anti EV types love to spread. When Paul Walker was tragically incinerated by his Porsche Carrera GT the media just accepted it as a fact of life. Cant help but think if that Porsche had been powered by lithium ion instead of gas he may have survived.

    • A Real Libertarian

      “Cant help but think if that Porsche had been powered by lithium ion instead of gas he may have survived.”

      Then we’d hear “Paul Walker almost killed by his electric car!!!!!!!” nonstop.

  • It’s amazing how the anti-electric industry creates fictional noise. While out picking up a Christmas tree this year, the fellow helping load the tree on our car talked about the fire hazard of electric cars. We own a Leaf and 2013 Volt. He was quite sure that the Volt had a fatal flaw in its battery that caused GM to stop making it. We pointed out to him that the issue in question was the result of hanging the car upside down essentially after it was deliberately crash tested. The fire happened several days later, and would be the equivalent of the crash testing a gasoline car, being surprised that it caught fire days later dripping gasoline. The feds found no safety defect of the Volt, but GM did add some reinforcements to the battery compartment. I explained this, and he said: “Oh, so this wasn’t the result of an accident or manufacturing defect?” I replied, “yes, that’s right. Somebody made a mistake in the testing.” He pondered that, “Well, that’s good it wasn’t defective.” And if anybody noted it, three of the top rated cars for safety and customer satisfaction are electric or electric extended range vehicles.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Sensationalism in the media has really hurt EVs. They’ve made major noise about the very few EV fires.

      They don’t bother reporting the 100,000+ gas car fires that happen every year.

  • jburt56

    The trick to avoiding crashes is to not let the Kochs drive.

  • ddddddddddddo3344

    Most importantly, no one has even been injured in any of these fires. Most of these fires occurred in serious accidents close to running through a brick wall which would have ordinarily killed the passengers. I’d take a car that lets me walk away from an accident but goes up in flames versus something that kills me any day.

    • Bob_Wallace

      One fire was a major accident. Two were running over large pieces of metal in the road.

      The most recent event was a garage fire that seems to have been caused by a wiring problem in the garage, not by the car or charger.

      The S does seem like a very safe car. A lot of thought went into safety. The impact absorbing system in the doors is impressive.

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