It is very rare when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) division of the Department of Transportation gives a vehicle its highest safety rating, which is five stars, across its eight tests. The Model 3 from Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) now has that distinction. It extends a series of tests that have lauded all Tesla vehicles for their safety.
The version of the car tested was the 2018 Model 3 four-door with rear-wheel drive. It received five stars for “front driver side” and “front passenger side” collisions, which are measured when two vehicles of similar size crash at 35 miles per hour.
Tesla also received five stars for the “overall side star rating,” which “Combines Side Barrier and Side Pole Star Ratings into a single side rating.” In the subcategory “side barrier rating,” it received five stars. This “simulates an intersection collision between a standing vehicle and moving barrier at 38.5 mph.” The Model 3 also received five stars in the subcategories of side bar and poll ratings for its front and rear seats. The “side bar” rating for front and rear seats received five stars, as did for the “overall side bar rating,” which stimulates a crash into a fixed object.
Finally, it won five stars in the “rollover rating,” which “measures the risk of rollover in a single-vehicle, loss-of-control scenario.”
While the measurements are complex, they give another reason why Tesla is considered the safety gold standard. All Tesla models have been built with features to protect passengers better than any other cars on the road. Demand for the Model 3 has been impressive. Tesla, as a matter of fact, cannot make enough of them to suit demand. Current production of the Model 3 is about 6,000 vehicles a week. Part of the attraction of the car is that its price is well below other Tesla models and eventually will be as low as $35,000. Tesla has another reason to say the Model 3 is too good to be true, perhaps because it is.