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Why Electric Cars Are Safer

Tesla Motors’s recent five-star sweep in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety ratings shed light on an important aspect of electric cars: They’re inherently safer than vehicles powered by internal combustion engines.

Tesla’s Model S served as a prime example of those safety advantages, recording the highest (five-star) ratings in frontal, side, rollover, and overall crash categories. The Model S joined the 2013 and 2014 models of the Ford Focus EV, which also captured five-star NHTSA safety ratings across the board.

Experts said that the performance by both vehicles was not surprising. “There are some very inherent safety dimensions to the design of an electric vehicle,” David Cole, chairman emeritus of The Center for Automotive Research, told Design News. “The design may have had more to do with energy storage and powertrain issues, but the safety advantage is a gift that comes along with it, and it’s very real.”

Tesla Model S’s lithium-ion batteries are placed low in the vehicle, dropping its center of gravity. (Source: Design News)
Tesla Model S’s lithium-ion batteries are placed low in the vehicle, dropping its center of gravity.
(Source: Design News)

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