Tesla Model S Fails to Earn Top Safety Rating (TSLA, GM)

Tesla, BMW fall short in electric vehicle crash tests

For a vehicle to qualify for the Top Safety Pick award, IIHS said it must earn "good" ratings in all five crashworthiness tests - small overlap front, moderated overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints and seats - and come with a front crash prevention system that earns an advanced or superior rating. Injuries to the dummy's right lower leg are also possible.

For some reason, the IIHS made a decision to test electric vehicles together this year and compare their safety ratings based on their own crash tests.

The Model S did not fail any of the crash test procedures.

The IIHS tested only the cloth-covered, manually-operated seats on the entry-level i3. This is due to the added weight of the P100D's larger battery, since this test uses the weight of the vehicle to determine how much force the roof can withstand. Tesla says it is working with its supplier to improve the headlights, and IIHS will evaluate the new ones when they are available. As USA Today points out, not all Model S sedans built since last October have a front crash prevention system. If a vehicle meets the requirements and passes the assessments, it can earn the "Plus" moniker if its headlights are found to be good or acceptable, as explained in a video below.

As for the i3, BMW's model won an "acceptable" rating for its inability to protect drivers from neck injuries, which, while "rarely fatal", can lead to "debilitating pain", the IIHS said.

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The 2 Series has been praised for its body structure integrity receiving a top rating in all crashworthiness tests. Tesla is confident that the improvements will bring a change in the review.

The 2017 Model S isn't available with anything other than poor-rated headlights. Even a Model S P100D failed in the roof strength test - significant in the case of any rollover vehicle crash. In order to be eligible for TSP+, vehicles must score "Good" in all five crash tests, and they must also contain some degree of forward crash protection.

The Prius Prime is the plug-in version of the Prius hybrid, also a Top Safety Pick+ victor.

While the Volt and the Prius Prime can both run on gas, the Volt has an edge in electric-only driving. In 2013 Tesla boasted that it had the best crash test ratings ever for a new vehicle on the new scale. When it hasn't been plugged in, the Prius Prime gets 54 miles per gallon, while the Volt gets 42 mpg.

This year, more than three dozen vehicles received Top Safety Pick+ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The institute hasn't yet tested the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt, which went on sale at the end of 2016.

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