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Chevy Volt/Nissan Leaf Win Top Safety Honors From IIHS

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On: Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 4:12PM | By: Chris Weiss

Chevy Volt/Nissan Leaf Win Top Safety Honors From IIHS

Proving that the respective awards of World Car of the Year and World Green Car of the Year weren't just feel-good flukes, the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt both scored at the top of the class in another important dynamic: safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) finished up what it referred to as the first U.S. plug-in electric tests, and awarded both of the alternatively powered superstars top ratings.

Both the Leaf and the Volt were chosen as "Top Safety Picks" by the IIHS thanks, in part, to their standard electronic stability control. In addition to the stability control, the IIHS found that the Leaf and Volt offer top-tiered "good" front, side, rear, and rollover crash protection.

Interestingly, the safety agency found that the heavy battery packs of each vehicle helped to enhance safety performance. Larger, heavier cars typically protect passengers better, and the weight from the battery packs helped the compact sedans perform more like mid-sized vehicles. This is good news for any potential buyers that might have feared that smaller, more efficient cars may be lacking in their ability to protect.

Other than that, the plug-in electric powertrains had no discernible impact on safety performance.

Joe Nolan, IIHS chief administrative officer, summed it up in a statement: "What powers the wheels is different, but the level of safety for the Volt and Leaf is as high as any of our other top crash test performers. These electric models are a win-win for fuel economy and safety."

The Volt and Leaf have yet to be tested by other authorities like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Consumer Reports.


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