Tesla’s Model S sedan — already no stranger to industry awards and praise — recently achieved a full 5 out of 5 possible stars in the Euro NCAP Crash Test, administered by the European New Car Assessment Programme.
Of course, this isn’t a surprise, as the Model S actually achieved the “best crash test ratings in the history of accident testing” last year when it was tested by the NHTSA (see: Tesla Model S Is Safest Car Ever Tested).
This new test, though, is one of the toughest car-safety tests in the world — so the results are certainly worth applauding. There have been, to date, only a few vehicles to receive a 5-star rating from both the NCAP and NHTSA tests.
Gas2 explains the specifics:
That’s because the tests focus to varying degrees on different safety aspects of new vehicles, with the NHTSA test focusing on structure, restraint, and impact absorption, particularly of adult passengers. The NHTSA is updating its tests soon (including fatter dummies), and plug-in vehicles run the gamut from great to not-so-great safety ratings. For the most part though, plug-ins do pretty well, which has led to lower insurance costs. BYD’s electric buses have managed to ace government crash testing too, though the Europeans tend to do things differently.
The Euro NCAP tests are broader in scope and variety, utilizing both adult and child crash test dummies of varying weights to determine more precise safety ratings. The NCAP test also places a special emphasis on active safety features like lane departure warnings, which was just added to the Model S starting in September. Not every EV has fared as well as the Model S though, as the Nissan e-NV200 managed a just-average 3 out of 5 stars on the NCAP.
The great ratings that the Model S has achieved are partly down to the fact that, with the electric drivetrain being located so low, the vehicle possesses a very low center of gravity, and a structural rigidity that “isn’t possible” in conventionally designed gas-powered cars.
In the two years that the Model S has been on sale, there’s been “only” one publicized death in a Model S — making it clear that the vehicle deserves these ratings.
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