2011 Safest Cars – February image

Euro NCAP has announced the results of its latest crash tests, including the first on an electric car – the Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

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.

In order to test these cars in a safe manner, extra precautions are taken before, during and after testing: the tests can only be performed at laboratories with specially-trained personnel; service plugs are removed during vehicle preparation and extra fire-fighting measures are taken to ensure the safety of laboratory personnel and equipment. No electrical or fire hazards were detected during the testing of the i-MiEV.

See how Euro NCAP is testing electric vehicles: view the video

Also released this month is the small off-road 4×4 Dacia Duster which, with an overall rating of 3 stars, failed to impress Euro NCAP. Scoring only 28% in pedestrian protection and 29% for safety assist, the Duster performs well below the latest level of safety performance demonstrated by other new cars on the European market. 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. In contrast, the Mitsubishi ASX and the Nissan Juke achieved the coveted 5 star overall rating. Furthermore, Euro NCAP applied 5 stars to the small MPV Hyundai ix20, twin of the KIA Venga tested in 2010. Both cars have the identical safety equipments and interior fittings and are expected to perform identically.