The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently put the new Tesla Model S through its standard crash tests, assessing front, side, pole, and rollover accidents. It has rated the sedan with flying colors in all categories. So good in fact that when testing its roof crush capacity, the machine that applies pressure on the roof actually broke down as it exceeded 4-Gs of pressure to the car’s top — that’s like having four times its own weight stacked on top it.
The new lithium-ion battery engine, and its smaller footprint in the overall frame compared to standard combustible engine, allows the developers to provide extra reinforcement for the vehicle’s body. The final rating by the NHTSA was a combined 5.4 stars, the highest ever recorded for a production vehicle. The engine also endured the testing without combusting or leaking.
It will be interesting to see how the vehicle performs after heavy use, when maintenance issues usually start to pop up and reveal inherent weaknesses. But for now, it’s a positive mark on the burgeoning car technology. Who knows, maybe if the battery keeps improving to give enough power and mileage for stretch limousines, fuel hassles and surcharges will be a thing of the past.
— Tim Crowley, LCT senior editor
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