Is the Tesla Model S really the safest car on the road?
One key fact went unnoticed this week as Tesla Motors Inc. trumpeted its “best” crash-test rating in the media: The federal government doesn’t test most other luxury cars.
So the Model S may be safer than many cars costing far less. But whether it’s safer than direct competitors from BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz — considered among the safest cars available — remains a mystery.
What’s more, the federal safety regulators privately reprimanded the automaker for publicly claiming the Model S scored better than any other car, according to a source familiar with the discussions. In fact, Tesla is among seven cars since 2011 that received the highest rating in all categories, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.