NCAP: Electric cars reach high safety ranking

February 24, 2011 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
The Euro New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) has announced the outcome of its first assessment of an electric plug-in vehicle, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. The car's four star rating shows that safety does not need to be compromised in zero-emissions vehicles, the pan-European organization says.

Euro NCAP tested plug-in vehicles with live batteries. The cars are exposed to the same test conditions as cars with internal combustion engine. Since the high voltage of the batteries used for hybrid and electric vehicles are a potential danger in the case of an accident-related deformation, NCAP testers devoted special attention to post-crash battery integrity and the proper functioning of the battery cut-off switch that isolates the high-voltage battery in the event of a crash. In order to test these cars in a safe manner, extra precautions are taken before, during and after testing: the tests can only be performed at laboratories with specially-trained personnel; service plugs are removed during vehicle preparation and extra fire-fighting measures are taken to ensure the safety of laboratory personnel and equipment.

During testing of the i-MiEV, no electrical or fire hazards were detected, NCAP says.The i-MiEV's twin models, the Citroën C-Zero and Peugeot iOn, achieved the same safety rating since they have the same design and safety equipment.

Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP's Secretary General said the organization recognizes the efforts done by Mitsubishi to demonstrate that plug-in battery powered cars can be as safe as others. “It shows that a future 5 star accolade for EVs is not unthinkable”, van Ratingen said.

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