Crash tests raise questions about safety of Tesla Model S

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The two tests' structural ratings were combined, resulting in acceptable structure and an acceptable rating overall for the Model S.

The Tesla Model S initially had earned an acceptable rating in the small overlap test, which represents the type of crash that occurs when the front driver-side corner of a vehicle hits a tree or utility pole or collides with another vehicle.

Chevrolet Impala, Ford Motor Co's Taurus and Tesla's Model S were the three sedans that got "only an acceptable rating" in a test created to simulate what happens when the front driver-side corner of a vehicle strikes a tree or another vehicle, the IIHS said.

In the small overlap front crash test, 25 percent of a vehicle's front end on the driver side strikes a 5-foot-tall barrier at 40 miles per hour.

"IIHS and dozens of other private industry groups around the world have methods and motivations that suit their own subjective purposes", a Tesla spokesperson said. Of these, only three ( Toyota Avalon, Lincoln Continental, Mercedes-Benz E-Class) earned the coveted TSP+, whereas the remaining cars settled for Top Safety Pick without the + suffix.

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Tesla's changes to the vehicle in January were largely focused on the seat belt, but inconsistent wheel movement in the test actually performed worse than the previous test vehicle. "But, the fact we got the same result the second time doing the test was disappointing". In response to the claims made by the IIHS following its most recent round of testing, Tesla issued a statement. The deformation was limited to an area that didn't contain battery cells in the tested vehicle, so this damage didn't affect the rating.

A new set of crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the USA questions Tesla's claim that the Model S is the safest vehicle in history.

The agency takes great pains to stress that the Model S is by no means an unsafe vehicle, earning second, rather than first, place in the test. They haven't been tested separately and aren't covered by this rating.

This single test was the only one that the Model S didn't receive top marks on. The "higher-performance variants of the Model S" that they are referring to is the Model S P100D, which has a 100 kWh battery pack and Tesla had to change its structure to fit that much energy capacity in the same pack size.

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