Two electric cars including the Tesla Model S and BMW i3 fell short to earn a safety award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) after undergoing crash tests. The 2017 all-electric models were evaluated together with plug-in hybrid models Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius Prime, which both received the 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK+ award.
The IIHS uses five criteria for a vehicle to qualify for TOP SAFETY PICK including small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints. Another evaluation requires cars to be equipped with crash prevention system to earn an advanced or superior rating.
The luxury sedan Tesla Model S did not meet the requirements for one of the most difficult tests - the small overlap front crash test. The car only received an "acceptable" rating. This test uses a real-world crash scenario to determine if a vehicle could cause possible injuries after a crash. In this test, the Tesla car's safety belt allowed the dummy's torso to move too far forward.
The "acceptable" rating only covers the Tesla Model cars built after October 2016. The electric vehicle company resolved the head-contact problem by making a production change on January 23. The IIHS will conduct another crash test as soon as Tesla delivered the updated vehicle for small overlap protection.
The Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius Prime made the grade and were designated by the IIHS as Top Safety Pick Plus Vehicles. Both popular plug-ins registered high ratings in front, side and roof crash protection, the safety of their head restraints, and headlights.
The IIHS advised Tesla to refine the designs of the electric models with driver protection as a priority. Tesla responded by stressing its commitment to making the world's safest cars. The Elon Musk company insists that the Models S was previously awarded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with a 5-star safety rating as well as by the European New Car Assessment Programm.
The video below reports on the electric cars that missed the mark for the IIHS safety award. Share your thoughts on the articles in the comment section.