The belief that electric cars must somehow perform badly in crashes is slowly being eroded, with many well-known examples scoring well in crash tests around the world.

The 2013 Ford Fusion Energi, the plug-in hybrid variant of Ford's midsize offering, is the latest to join that list, with a top five-star score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

That might come as little surprise, given the regular Fusion has already scored a top rating with the NHTSA and IIHS.

Due to the plug-in car's subtle but important differences with the non plug-in Fusion though, the NHTSA has elected to test such vehicles separately.

That's not only to ensure cars are tested thoroughly as more plug-in vehicles join the market, but also to determine whether the extra batteries and high-voltage components affect the car's behavior in a crash.

Crash tests combine scores from frontal, side-impact and rollover crash tests--and the Fusion Energi scored highly in all.

It joins a 'Top Safety Pick+' score from the IIHS back in December--and should reassure customers that their new Fusion Energi is just as safe as any other vehicle in the class.

Nissan's revised 2013 Leaf also scored well in IIHS crash testing recently, with a Top Safety Pick rating. Small changes from the previous model rendered the Leaf sufficiently different to warrant further testing--but it picked up the same, high rating as before.

Other electric vehicles have fared less well--recently bankrupt Coda picked up only two stars in frontal impact testing for its electric Sedan, back in December.


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