Electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) announced yesterday that their Model S sedan received the highest safety score ever given by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The numbers are absolutely astounding in every way as the Model S not only received 5 stars for overall safety, but also 5 stars in every subcategory. Elon Musk and his team of robots have apparently gone to great lengths to ensure safety in every aspect of this vehicle, even borrowing safety methods from space exploration.
Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) achieved this outcome by nesting multiple deep aluminum extrusions in the side rail of the car that absorb the impact energy (a similar approach was used by the Apollo Lunar Lander) and transfer load to the rest of the vehicle.
Also of interest from the testing process is the difficulty the NHTSA had in getting the car to rollover and its roof strength. Due to the placement of the heavy batteries giving the car a very low center of gravity, the testing team had to develop and implement new methods to make the care rollover. In testing the crush strength of the roof, the testing equipment literally broke before the roof of the Model S did. According to the results, the roof of the Model S can withstand four additional Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s stacked on top.
Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) also takes a moment to address any criticisms before they arrive:
It is possible to game the regulatory testing score to some degree by strengthening a car at the exact locations used by the regulatory testing machines. After verifying through internal testing that the Model S would achieve a NHTSA 5-star rating, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) then analyzed the Model S to determine the weakest points in the car and retested at those locations until the car achieved 5 stars no matter how the test equipment was configured.
The chart below shows the statistical Relative Risk Score (RSS) of Model S compared with all other vehicles tested against the exceptionally difficult NHTSA 2011 standards.
Shares of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) have been on an absolute tear this year as the automaker has swung to profitability faster than most expected and paid off a huge government loan years ahead of schedule.
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