Electric Cars And Safety: Crashing For Your Reassurance

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Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric minicar crash-tested by ADAC, December 2010, screen capture

Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric minicar crash-tested by ADAC, December 2010, screen capture

Range is one of those recurring talking points with electric cars, used by EV critics whenever they want a cheap shot. Keen to make sure safety doesn't become another, the manufacturers are fighting back by proving their electric cars can be just as safe as their gasoline counterparts.

Mitsubishi are the latest automaker to release details of their model being crash tested. A European-spec "i", still known as the i-MiEV in Europe, has been tested by the Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club (ADAC), Germany and Europe's largest automobile club. ADAC are often responsible for some of the earliest crash test results, and often cover models not tested by the more well-known Euro New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP).

The ADAC has scored the i-MiEV highly, noting that as soon as the car had recognised an impact, the high-voltage elements of the powertrain were immediately shut off and the 88-cell lithium-ion battery remained undamaged.

As with the 2011 Volvo C30 electric car featured at the recent Detroit Auto Show, the i-MiEV was subjected to a 40 mph, 40 percent offset frontal crash test, and another was tested for rear impact strength using a 3,000 pound movable barrier at just under 50 miles per hour with a 70 percent offset.

Despite the relatively small size of the Mitsubishi, it was given high ratings in both tests with no worries over the integrity of the electric system. The test also bodes well for the U.S. model, which is slightly larger.

These results echo Volvo's own findings with the electric C30, which Volvo confirmed was equally as safe as their gasoline variant.

Gordon Murray T.27 crash test

Gordon Murray T.27 crash test

Meanwhile, Gordon Murray, of McLaren F1 supercar fame, has been showing that even smaller cars than the i-MiEV can still be safe. His 98-inch long and 1800 pound electric micro car, codenamed the T.27, has been subjected to the 40 percent offset crash test and maintained its integrity. Director of Engineering at Gordon Murray Design, Frank Coppuck, said: "This crash test... clearly demonstrates that cars build using iStream technology can achieve low weight, cost and significant reductions in energy usage during manufacturing without compromising safety."

It's great to see that manufacturers are taking the issue of safety with their new EVs as seriously as other areas of their engineering, and hopefully it will go some way to reassuring consumers' concerns over crashing in a high-voltage vehicle.

[Mitsubishi, AllCarTech]

 
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