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Tesla's Model S electric car earns highest safety rating of any vehicle

By Shawn Knight · 25 replies
Aug 20, 2013
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  1. Tesla’s flagship Model S electric sedan has earned a five-star safety rating in every category en route to setting a record for the lowest likelihood of injury to occupants when tested for front, side, rear and rollover accidents. It’s a...

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  2. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,633   +693

    I have a buddy who has one of these. It's built like a tank. With all the batteries in the bottom, lowering the center of gravity, there's almost zero sway while driving or even during sharp turns. It also weights double what a normal car of its size does due to the battery pack, and so the suspension system and everything else needs to be built to handle that.

    It's the most impressive car I've ever ridden in.
  3. Lurker101

    Lurker101 TS Evangelist Posts: 798   +318

    Take the batteries out, put a V8 in and I'll be interested
  4. davislane1

    davislane1 Inquisitor Posts: 4,494   +3,493

    I'd be interested to see how the numbers stack up against mid- and rear-engine cars. That those vehicles usually aren't crash tested made this a huge marketing opportunity for Tesla that they apparently have knocked out of the park.
  5. @Lurker101 - Consider that Tesla is already outselling their production and the demand keeps on growing, I doubt they care if you buy one or not. Adding a V8 will only make the car worse.
  6. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,333   +280

    I'd have to agree with you, TomSEA. Was shopping at a mall this last weekend, which is usually about as much fun as a root canal without novacaine... But, they had a Tesla shop in the mall, with a few cars and one complete chassis-only setup so you could see how the frame is built. If I hadn't already been impressed by the overall build of the Tesla S and all of the slick design details they put into it, seeing that bare frame and how solid the vehicle is built underneath, I'm doubly impressed.
  7. The Model S will rip up pretty much any V8, even with a supercharger.
  8. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,769   +598

    But that V8 only takes 5 minutes to recharge its tank and makes a sweet sound, especially with a supercharger. Also you'll get more range out of it.

    And no kidding this thing out paced minivans and SUVs in safety ratings, it can't roll over, just that one fact alone means you really can't compare the two. Besides who compares low slung sports cars to minivans? Not at all the same thing. Just look at the chassis, its like nothing else out there and looks heavy and solid.
    Lurker101 likes this.
  9. davislane1

    davislane1 Inquisitor Posts: 4,494   +3,493

    Don't know much about cars, do you? There are six-bangers that will eat even a performance edition Tesla alive (4 cylinders if we include heavily moded engines). The Model S is certainly quick, but remains firmly in the middle of the pack when we talk about stock performance driving.

    Edit: I'll add, though, that if we limit this to mid-sized sedans the Model S lineup remains middle of pack, sans the Performance model which edges near the top along with the M5 with respect to 0-60 times.
    Lurker101 likes this.
  10. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,137   +624

    This Model S looks really nice, too bad it is electrical. I'm not into that kind of stuff.
  11. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,838   +1,183

    Yet another reason to buy this car... as if we needed another. However, there's one big barrier still out there for me and that's the $$.
  12. Tekkaraiden

    Tekkaraiden TS Evangelist Posts: 997   +93

    If they manage to increase the range and decrease the price I'd gladly own one.
  13. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,762   +435

    That's now. Battery tech is improving quite rapidly. The main restriction to charging quickly is the infrastructure to deliver many many Watts in a short period of time.
  14. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,169   +3,261

    I always roll my eyes when I read "highest safety rating". The rating changes every time a new car comes to market. These safety rating are nothing more than a sales gimmick. Doesn't change the idea that your chances of survival remain the same, regardless what you decide to climb into.

    A tin box can only absorb so much shock, the rest is dependent on human tolerance and unique crash conditions. At this stage of the game, it is about like benchmarking quad core machines to play solitaire. They are all adequate, but yet we keep looking at benchmark performances.
    Nobina and Skidmarksdeluxe like this.
  15. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 7,986   +2,878

    They obviously haven't compared it to the Abrams M1A2 tank yet. I'd feel safer in that at speed on the highway than in the car. (Depending on who's driving)
  16. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 7,986   +2,878

    Benchmark figures sell products. People like comparing benchmark numbers even if they haven't a clue as to their meaning. BS baffles brains and the marketing boys know this all to well. That said so do we but we'll always fall for it.
    Nobina and cliffordcooley like this.
  17. 9Nails

    9Nails TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,212   +174

    It would be safe to assume that batteries will improve. And by 10 years when I'm needing to replace it I'll be able up upgrade to a rapid charging battery. But for now, I'm not driving 300 miles per day. So an overnight top-off on the battery is fine for my daily use. Plus I have a dinosaur sipping car for those long distance highway trips.
  18. 9Nails

    9Nails TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,212   +174

    New V8's suffer from modern smog restrictions. And the electric motor, with it's zero emissions can greatly improve from where it is at today.

    However the V8 motors power drag racing cars, so lifting those State restrictions and you are controlling a very explosive power. It's all about traction control at that point, so I wouldn't toss aside the V8 out of the competition.
  19. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +138

    "A press release issued late yesterday evening penned by CEO Elon Musk pointed out the sedan bested the safety score of all sport-utility vehicles and minivans tested by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSB)."

    Why compare a sedan to SUVs and minivans?

    "It would be safe to assume that batteries will improve."

    It would also be safe to assume that gas-consuming cars will become more energy efficient. However, batteries are still constrained by the fact that they must be charged first in ordered to be used and even at rest electronic devices that use batteries still consume energy.
  20. davislane1

    davislane1 Inquisitor Posts: 4,494   +3,493

    cmbjive Batteries may be held back due to infrastructure and technological problems, but ICEs are starting to show their age. Most of the efficiency gains made in recent years have been the result of clever tricks (cylinder deactivation and stop/start), highly complicated gear boxes (seven and eight speed transmissions, CVTs, etc.), and small output. Safety regulations and more computer systems adding weight to cars will only exacerbate the problem. For internal combustion to remain strong against future EVs manufacturers are either going to have to find a more effective fuel or reinvent the wheel. Hybrid systems are gaining popularity, but I doubt consumers 15 years from now will be attracted to them over full EVs.
  21. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +138

    ICEs may be showing their age, but they won't be replaced by electric-driven cars. Fifteen years from now I am willing to bet the most popular selling vehicle will still be the Ford F-150. In fact, the top selling cars so far this year do not include any electric vehicle. Indeed, the F Series and Silverado take the one and two spots, respectively.

    As far as I'm aware there are no all-electric trucks in production.

    The fact that they are resorting to "tricks" to get more efficiency out of the ICE may be due to the fact that they have reached the marginal diminishing utility of the engine. So instead of trying to squeeze out more efficiency in the engine they should turn to other features of the car that can be reduced in weight without sacrificing too much on chassis integrity and safety.

    I still don't see Tesla as a long-term production vehicle, but we'll see in 15 years.
  22. What most of you seem to have forgotten is that most modern electric motors can exert a lot more torque than that of a V8, plus they can maintain that torque throughout the entire driving range (Why do you think most freight trains use an electric motor powered by a diesel generator).

    I have also noticed another oversight, It is actually fairly easy to maintain a charge on the batteries through the use of solar cells, having the motor generate power when stopping, and another idea I have is placing a hood scoop or two that redirect airflow to a set of turbines in which spin generators to help power the motor and charge/maintain the batteries (this would be especially effective on highways). There are so many ways that EV's can be made more efficient and more powerful.

    If they implemented solar cells onto the surface of the vehicle, you wouldn't even have to plug your car in when you park your car at work or at the store. Solar has become extremely efficient over the years, to the extent that most are highly efficient even without direct sunlight.
  23. davislane1

    davislane1 Inquisitor Posts: 4,494   +3,493


    I don't think anyone has forgotten of the obvious performance advantages of electric. However, when we talk performance, raw power and torque are only one aspect of the deal. I'll take an M3/4, M5, any V12 Aston, an R spec Jag, a Porsche, a Maserati or anything with an AMG badge all day over even the most potent EV for one reason: EV power is emotionless, regardless of the figures.
  24. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,769   +598

    Your joking right? Have you forgotten one of the laws of physics? The idea of a turbine just means your adding drag to the vehicle and the electric motor would thus work harder nullifying any potential charge from said turbine. And solar cells are again a laughable, even if the whole surface of the car was laminated with solar cells the electrical output would not be sufficient to charge the vehicle fast enough, maybe it would add a little range but likely not much. If a standard 230v/10a wall outlet takes 34 hours to charge the batteries do you really think a solar panel outputting a tenth of that power would have any real effect after 8 hours at work. Also the cost of doing so would make the car incredibly expensive, if it wasn't too expensive as it is.
    cliffordcooley likes this.

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