The Tesla Model 3 has been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States and found to have the “lowest probability of injury” of all the cars tested by the agency, the Palo Alto, California electric vehicle maker said on its official blog.

This is in addition to the Model 3 scoring the highest possible five-star rating in every category and sub-category, the company added. The vehicle tested was the Model 3 Long Range rear-wheel drive model, by the NHTSA as part of its New Car Assessment Program, where crash tests are conducted to determine the likelihood of serious bodily injury from front, side and rollover crashes.

The Model 3’s high safety rating is attributed to its “near-50/50” weight distribution and low polar moment of inertia, where the car’s heaviest components are located closer to the car’s centre of gravity. This is aided by a performance similar to what’s described as a mid-engined car in terms of having its battery, the heaviest component of the car, positioned in the centre, while the motor is slightly ahead of the rear axle.

Frontal crashes are managed by crumple zones in the Model 3’s structure, while the airbags are designed to protect the occupant’s head in the event of angled or offset impacts. The frontal airbags themselves feature active vents, according to Tesla, which vary the internal pressure to optimise protection based on the crash. Knee airbags and a collapsible steering column contribute to the safety rating, said Tesla.

Pole impact protection on the Model 3 comes courtesy of energy-absorbing lateral and diagonal beam structures, comprised of high-strength aluminum bumper beam, a sway bar place low and forward ahead of the car, cross-members at the front of the steel subframe that are connected to the main crash rails, and additional diagonal beams in the subframe.

The front suspension assembly also has an ‘ultra-high strength martensitic steel beam’ to further absorb crash energy from severe impacts, while the rear part of the subframe is U-shaped and buckles down upon impact. These structures also accommodate the front motor for the dual-motor, all-wheel drive model, and the subframe is designed to pull the front of the motor down and out of the way, says Tesla.

The Tesla Model 3 also boasts the least structural intrusion from side pole impact of any vehicle tested by the NHTSA, the company says. Tesla patented its own pillar structures and side sills in order to absorb as much crash energy as possible in a very short distance, and work alongside the vehicle’s body and battery architecture to reduce compartment intrusion, while less intrusion into the cabin gives the airbags more room to inflate and cushion the occupants, the company added.

While Tesla models such as the Model 3 are designed to have a low centre of gravity thanks to the battery pack and motors being located as low in the car as possible, Tesla’s internal tests show that the Model 3 structure can withstand up to four times its own weight, with little deformation, the company said, noting that the NHTSA only requires cars to be able to withstand three times their own weight.

GALLERY: Tesla Model 3