Tesla Model S P85D Blows Away Consumer Reports' Rating System

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 12-Oct-2015

Washington D.C. residents have long relied on Consumer Reports to provide up to date ratings on vehicle safety and performance. When the magazine broke its own record by giving the Tesla Model S a 99/100 score two years ago, readers took note, as did safety advocates and others concerned about how to limit the number and severity of car accidents.

Today, 99 out of 100 points is old news for Tesla. The company just blew away the researchers at Consumer Reports - and their rating system - by earning 103 points out of a possible 100, according to Slate.

If that score sounds impossible, the editors of the magazine would agree. Giving vehicles extra-credit points on a scale designed specifically to make vehicle comparisons easy doesn't make a lot of sense, admits Consumer Reports. "The car set a new benchmark," noted the magazine, "so we had to make changes to our scoring to account for it." The magazine plans to recalibrate its scale so that the Tesla Model S P85D earns 100 points out of 100.

Still, setting the standard is no small feat for any vehicle. Tesla's newest creation earned its score by, among other things, accelerating from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a mere 3.5 seconds. "Its near-instant g-forces can otherwise be achieved only by leaping off a building - literally," notes the magazine.

The vehicle is far from perfect, Consumer Reports noted: the interior is less comfortable than many other luxury cars, the vehicle has to be recharged every 200 miles, and the $128,000 price tag puts the car out of reach for many families. And the super-fast acceleration may come with its own safety problems on the road. Only time will tell.

Implications for Future of Automotive Safety

How else might this record-breaking safety score redound to affect drivers and pedestrians? Here are 3 possibilities:

  • Other automakers, spurred by competition with Telsa, might step up their own safety engineering efforts.
  • Telsa owners (and others) might drive more aggressively, because they feel more secure thanks to the safety features - this stance could create new, unexpected risks.
  • If the Telsa experiment succeeds on a big scale, and it drives other car makers to produce competitive electronic vehicles, it could usher in a sea change regarding not just how we power our cars but also how we relate to them from a safety perspective.

Get where you're going more safely: these Four Essential Travel Safety Tips for the Start of Summer are good year-round, even as autumn kicks into full gear.

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