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Trevor Collett | Aug, 21 2013 | 5 Comments

Tesla’s Model S has set a new record for the highest safety score ever achieved during a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash test in the US.

Despite being awarded the maximum 5-star safety rating, the Model S actually achieved 5.4 stars overall, when all subcategory scores were combined.

The EV scored the maximum five stars in all subcategories as well; a feat only achieved by one percent of all cars tested by the NHTSA so far.

Tesla attributes the success to its electric engine, which the carmaker says is around 30cm in diameter, eliminating the need for the large (and heavy) engine block necessary for an internal combustion engine.

Being rear-engined also means the Model S has a much more generous crumple zone, eliminating the chances of an engine intruding into the cabin and injuring passengers during a high speed frontal impact.

“Just like jumping into a pool of water from a tall height, it is better to have the pool be deep and not contain rocks,” a statement from Tesla said.

The small electric engine fared well in a highway-speed rear collision, as Tesla fits a double rear bumper to all Model S variants when the optional third-row seating is fitted.

Excellent results were also achieved in the side pole test and rollover risk, with the Model S proving extremely difficult to roll due to the battery-pack’s location below the floor pan, providing a very low centre of gravity.

Tesla has confirmed that Australian deliveries of its Model S will begin in around March next year, with final pricing yet to be confirmed.

MORE: About the Tesla Model S.

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