Euro NCAP now testing plug-in electric cars

Euro NCAP has just released details of this month's round of testing which included, for the first time, electric vehicles. This means Euro NCAP now has a rating for the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Citroen C-Zero and the Peugeot iOn cars, which share the same platform.
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Overall, Euro NCAP gave them all a rating of four stars. So even though EVs are thought to be more dangerous due to high voltage-related threats, the humble i-MiEV is actually quite safe. Euro NCAP’s Secretary General, Dr Michiel van Ratingen, spoke about the new technology and its potential safety in a recent statement, saying,

"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."

Much of the same crash test procedure processes are applied to EVs. The only difference is the experts who investigate the cars after the crashes take note and pay special attention to the battery and its automatic cut-off mechanism. Euro NCAP reports that no additional electrical or fire hazards came about during or after the testing, when compared with ordinary internal combustion-engine cars.

Other vehicles that were rated in this month's batch of testing included the somewhat popular Dacia Duster, Mitsubishi ASX, Nissan Juke and the new Hyundai ix20. Unfortunately but predictably, the Dacia Duster didn't shape up too well after NCAP's scrutiny and was eventually given just three stars. NCAP wasn't too impressed by the Duster's pedestrian safety (rated at 28 percent) and its safety assist systems (29 percent). The report said,

"It is disappointing that a mother company like Renault does not give safety the same priority in Dacia cars as it does in cars sold under its own brand."

Meanwhile, the other cars, including the new Hyundai ix20 MPV (sharing the same platform as the Kia Venga), all received five stars overall. NCAP was impressed with the way each car shaped up after a series of frontal, side and side-pole impacts. NCAP said the Hyundai ix20/Kia Venga showed good protection for the legs of the front seat occupants, however, the steering column did present a risk of injury to the driver's thighs.

Euro NCAP did give a special mention to Nissan luxury car brand, Infiniti, for its new Lane Departure Prevention system on the Infiniti FX. It gave the car the first ever Euro NCAP Advanced reward. The system comprises of a number of cameras which monitor the car's position in the lane and provide the driver with assistance in eliminating any lane-merging risks.