Inaugural Euro NCAP test shows EV safety
The results for the Mitsubishi i-MiEV were released as part of Euro NCAP's latest batch of results for seven vehicles and mark the start of a series of EV tests in 2011.
The car gained a 73% figure for adult protection, 78% for child protection, 48% for pedestrian protection and 71% for safety assist technology, giving an overall four-star rating. These ratings are shared with the i-MiEV's sister models, the Citroen C-Zero and Peugeot iOn, which have the same design and safety equipment.
Euro NCAP said that the car’s creditable four-star rating shows that safety does not need to be compromised in zero-emissions vehicles.
Dr Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP’s secretary general, commented: ‘We recognise the efforts done by Mitsubishi to demonstrate that plug-in battery-powered cars can be as safe as others. It shows that a future five-star accolade for EVs is not unthinkable. Whether produced by established car manufacturers or by new players on the market, consumers should expect to get electric vehicles that meet the same safety standards as conventional vehicles.’
The organisation added that it tests plug-in vehicles with live batteries and the cars are exposed to the same test conditions as other vehicles. The main concern was how well the car’s batteries stood up to the impact and the effectiveness of cut-off switches in insolating the high-voltage battery. However, Euro NCAP observed that no electrical or fire hazards were detected during the testing of the i-MiEV.
Commenting on the results, Edmund King, president of UK motoring organisation the AA, said: 'This i-MiEV sets a benchmark in safety that other electric vehicles will have to achieve. From the point of view of future buyers, the success of this crash test will dispel much of the worry about what happens when an electric car is involved in a significant crash.'
Overall safety scores for cars tested were:
• Dacia Duster (small off-road 4×4) – 3 stars
• Mitsubishi ASX (small family) – 5 stars
• Mitsubishi i-MiEV (supermini) – 4 stars
• Nissan Juke (supermini) – 5 stars
• Citroen C-Zero (supermini) – 4 stars
• Peugeot iOn (supermini) – 4 stars
• Hyundai ix20 (small MPV) – 5 stars