Tesla Model 3 scores 5-stars in NHTSA crash tests

Tesla Model S electric car is seen at a dealership in Seoul South Korea. Kim Hong-Ji  Reuters

Tesla Model S electric car is seen at a dealership in Seoul South Korea. Kim Hong-Ji Reuters

After running the Model 3 through its battery of tests, the NHTSA awarded the 2018 model a five-star safety rating.

The agency started the 5-Star safety ratings program in 1993 and Tesla's Model X and Model S, which has been the subject of at least one NHTSA investigation, have both received the top rating in the past.

The ratings are a relief after months of Tesla crashes making headlines - particularly with incidents involving the company's driver-assistance system Autopilot.

Although an overall 5-star rating is not uncommon for vehicles, achieving 5-star scores in every category tested by NHTSA is indeed rarer.

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The NHTSA's three safety categories are frontal crash, side crash and rollover. The Model 3 also underwent side pole testing created to mimic the outcome of a Model 3 crashing into a fixed object like a sturdy tree. In a recent note, Toni Sacconaghi of Bernstein, who is known to be critical of Tesla in the past, stated that there is simply "no credible competition" for the Model 3 until 2020. The Model 3 scored the highest possible marks in this test. Model 3 is truly among the elite in this aspect. Still, five-star ratings across the board from NHTSA is nothing to sneeze at.

The Tesla Model 3 gets crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Consumer Reports later retested the Model 3, giving it a "Recommended" rating.

Tesla, and electric cars in general, have some distinct advantages over internal combustion engine-powered vehicles when it comes to crash safety.

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