In a press release earlier today, Tesla, which is based in Palo Alto, Calif., says that the ratings for the Model S exceeded that of even SUVs and minivans – larger vehicles generally considered to be safer than cars in some kinds of crashes.
"Approximately one percent of all cars tested by the federal government achieve 5 stars across the board," Tesla reps wrote. "NHTSA does not publish a star rating above 5, however safety levels better than 5 stars are captured in the overall Vehicle Safety Score (VSS) provided to manufacturers, where the Model S achieved a new combined record of 5.4 stars."
In other words, the Tesla scored off the charts.
Tesla attributed the high score for its electric car in part to the missing gasoline engine block, the absence of which creates "a much longer crumple zone to absorb a high speed impact."
The NHTSA results come on the heels of an upbeat earnings report from Elon Musk's Tesla, and the news that the company had delivered 5,150 Model S sedans to customers in Q2 of 2013 – a quarterly record.
The Model S, which won Motor Trend's 2013 Car of the Year award, retails at a few price points: $59,000 for the base level sedan and $94,400 for the performance version. In its review of the Model S, Motor Trend said that the car was able to travel 234 miles on a single battery charge.