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Insurance Institute for Highway Safety praise crash performance of certain electric vehicles

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety praise crash performance of certain electric vehicles
Autos
The crash test dummies at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have added to the growing docket of evidence proving that all-electric vehicles are at least as safe as conventionally powered machines.

With EVs making up a relatively small percentage of new cars on sale today, there simply wasn’t really enough data to make broad generalizations on this topic. This is no longer the case, as the IIHS has been testing an increasing number of all-electrics. Most recently, top-notch ratings were awarded to the 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge and 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E, with the Audi e-tron, Audi e-tron Sportback, and Tesla Model 3 earning similar laudatory praise earlier this year.

“It’s fantastic to see more proof that these vehicles are as safe as or safer than gasoline- and diesel-powered cars,” said IIHS President David Harkey in a statement. “We can now say with confidence that making the U.S. fleet more environmentally friendly doesn’t require any compromises in terms of safety.”

First Drive: 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

To earn the coveted IIHS Top Safety Pick in 2021, vehicles must earn a “Good” rating (the highest possible) in all six IIHS crashworthiness tests. Those tests include the notorious small overlap crash tests on both driver- and passenger-side. They also need to ace a moderate overlap front, side impact, roof strength, plus a head restraint exam. If that weren’t enough, the cars must also be available with Good or Acceptable headlights and a front crash prevention system that earns Advanced or Superior ratings in both the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations.

There is one level above the Top Safety Pick, and that’s the Top Safety Pick+ rating. Appending that plus sign is dependent on those Good or Acceptable headlights being available across all trim levels, not simply reserved for the most spendy models. For example, curve-adaptive LED reflector headlights are installed on every XC40 Recharge, permitting that model to earn the coveted ‘+’ rating. On the flip side, Mach-E comes with LED projector headlamps on GT and First Edition trims but other trims make do with LED reflectors; the latter do not earn a Good rating in the eyes of the IIHS so the entire range does without the ‘+’ suffix.

Another interesting tidbit of the IIHS report states that the extra heft of batteries in an EV can also help prevent injury in a wreck, since occupants of heavier vehicles are exposed to lower forces in multivehicle crashes. Citing data harvested from 2011 – 2019, drivers and passengers of electric vehicles were more than 40 per cent lower than for identical conventional models.
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