Remember when Tesla claimed that they had a greater-than-5-star safety rating on the Model S? How safe is the car, in reality? That’s what the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tries to do with all the vehicles they test. The Model S? It didn’t do well.
Almost all cars on sale today can handle all of the crash tests with a “Good” rating except for the small overlap front test. That test tends to catch some cars up, though that crash is the of the most-likely head-on crashes to happen. In the Model S’s case, the car achieved an “Acceptable” rating.
The IIHS is also big on headlights. No version of the Model S, according to the IIHS, is capable of doing well in that test. The car received the lowest “Poor” rating.
Also those who opt for the P100D, with the heavier batteries for improved range and performance, get a weaker roof. While the cars are similar, the P100D’s roof crash rating is only “Acceptable” in that car.
Finally, the crash avoidance systems on the Tesla Model S aren’t activated on every trim level of the car, so they were unable to evaluate it.
Because of all of that, the Tesla Model S didn’t even receive a Top Safety Pick award, let alone the highest Top Safety Pick+ award. It should be noted that the BMW i3 fared better, but still not well enough to earn a coveted award.
The plugin Prius Prime and the Chevrolet Volt did well, with the Volt doing exceptionally well and is ultimately one of the safest battery vehicles you can buy today.