Lithium ion batteries powering the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and Nissan Leaf EV managed to pass their first Insurance Institute for Highway Safety small-overlap front crash tests with no reported issues. While battery of the Leaf survived the small overlap test, it still scored a poor rating after getting significant damage that makes drivers gain left knee, thigh and lower leg injuries.
The Volt scored an acceptable rating in the small-overlap test. It went on its way to receive the institute's only Top Safety Pick+ overall award after this round of testing.
IIHS grants Top Safety Pick+ designation to a vehicle that has earned a good or acceptable rating in the small-overlap test; a good rating on the institute's other four tests; and advanced or superior ratings for front crash prevention.
The small overlap test determines how well vehicles handle 40-mph collisions wherein there is 25 percent frontal overlap with a five-foot-tall rigid barrier on the driver's side. According to IIHS, Electrified vehicles presented a "unique challenge" in safety testing because of their heavy batteries.
IIHS has tested 32 small cars for small-overlap front crash protection, with just 19 getting good or acceptable ratings. The rest received marginal or poor ratings. For the latest round of testing, the Mini Cooper Countryman earned the only good rating among 12 small cars evaluated.