Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf Earn Top Marks in First U.S. Crash Tests

In the first independent crash tests of mainstream electric vehicles conducted in the United States, the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf have been named Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

A Chevrolet Volt undergoes side-impact crash testing at the institute’s research center.That is good news for early adopters and bodes well for these vehicles as they fight for broader acceptance in the marketplace.
The Volt, a plug-in hybrid, and the Leaf, a fully electric car, earned the top ratings of good for front, side, rear and rollover protection in the crash tests administered by the Insurance Institute, a nonprofit paid for by the insurance industry. To achieve the Top Safety Pick designation, vehicles must receive a score of good in each of these tests and have electronic stability control as standard equipment or available as an option.
“It is quite a stellar performance for both vehicles,” said Joe Nolan, the institute’s chief administrative officer.
The automakers were confident that their vehicles would test well. “We approached G.M. and Nissan and asked would they support us and help us acquire the vehicles,” Mr. Nolan said. “They were both very supportive, suggesting they were expecting good results.”
Mr. Nolan said that both automakers “bumped customers off the list” to provide the institute with test vehicles, a strong hint “that they were going to be Top Safety Picks,” he said.

The injury measurements, all but one of which were rated good, indicated a low risk of significant injuries in crashes according to the scale of severity employed in the institute’s testing. The Volt earned a slightly lower rating of acceptable for torso, which indicates that rib fractures could result in a comparable real-world crash. Neither the Volt nor the Leaf received a rating of marginal or the lowest rating, poor.

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