2013 Nissan Leaf
That's the case with the 2013 Nissan Leaf, which has picked up a "Top Safety Pick" rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
While the Nissan Leaf was also designated an IIHS Top Safety Pick in its first year, 2011, and again in 2012, the institute decided to re-test the car for 2013.
The 2013 Leaf has a few changes that could conceivably have affected crash safety, including the onboard charger relocated from its former position sitting on the rear load deck between the rear wheel arches. That charger is now up front, under the hood.
Once again, the 2013 Leaf scored the highest "Good" rating for front, side, rollover and rear crash tests.
A host of safety features, including dual-stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt sensors, side air bags, curtain side impact air bags for front and rear passengers, child safety rear door locks, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and Traction Control System (TCS) all contributed the the model's score--and all are standard on the 2013 Leaf.
"Driver and passenger safety are top priorities for Nissan and the 'Top Safety Pick’ designation by IIHS reflects the design and innovation that have gone into this car to make it a practical, no-compromise electric vehicle," explained Erik Gottfried, Nissan’s director of electric vehicle sales and marketing.
“The new, U.S.-assembled 2013 Nissan LEAF provides customers with a remarkable level of value, comfort and security at prices competitive with gas-powered cars in a fun-to-drive package."
The rating also demonstrates the efforts made by electric vehicle automakers to ensuring their cars are as safe as any other vehicle, despite the hugely different powertrains.
Many electric vehicles, like this Tesla Model S torn apart by the jaws of life, can be even better-optimized for crash safety without having to work around the solid lump of engine found in most vehicles