Published: Thu, February 02, 2017
Research | By Elizabeth Houston

Tesla, BMW fall short in electric vehicle crash tests

Tesla, BMW fall short in electric vehicle crash tests

But the Model S cars built after October 2016 earned "good" ratings on four evaluations-moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints-but managed only an "acceptable" rating on the small overlap front crash test. Measurements from the dummy indicated that injuries to the head, along with the lower right leg, would be possible in a real-world crash of the same severity, the group noted.

IIHS released the electric vehicles' test results Wednesday.

In these specific IIHS tests, test dummies sustained head injuries when their heads hit the steering wheel. The P100D has the same roof structure as other Model S versions but is heavier, due to a larger battery, so it earns an acceptable rating.

Tesla is dealing with the seat-belt problem and is working with suppliers to fix the headlight issue, the IIHS said. The Model S received a rating of "Acceptable" in one of the tests.

It also said that the car's headlights rank "Acceptable" and that its available collision avoidance tech is classified as "Advanced". Finally, some of its vehicles still lack an activated forward crash protection system, even though it comes standard, which is another requirement for TSP+. To enter the list of Top Safety Pick, an electric vehicle needs to get "Good" rating in all tests. This test is created to see how well the seats and head restraints protect against neck injuries in a rear crash.

"Neither of these (potential injuries) were so high that we would expect life threatening injuries, but they are too high in our opinion to get "Good" ratings for those body regions", said Dave Zuby of IIHS.

While the Volt and the Prius Prime can both run on gas, the Volt has an edge in electric-only driving.

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"The nice thing about the Toyota Prius Prime is that you can get top safety pick plus safety performance without having to choose any options", said David Zuby of the IIHS.

Lastly, the organization gave the 2017 Model S a poor rating for its headlights.

Conversely, the Volt can go longer in electric-only mode at 53 miles while the Prius tops out at 25 miles.

The BMW i3, a small electric vehicle that starts at $42,400, also earned good ratings in four out of five tests.

The IIHS noted that the electric vehicle maker has made production changes to the Model S to improve its ability to protect the passengers.

According to the new test ratings that were released by IIHS after the test of vehicle crash test, it was found that Tesla's electric auto was not able to score the highest ratings.

IIHS plans to test another green auto, the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt, once it becomes widely available later this year.

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