Nissan LEAF Earns Top Safety Pick From IIHS image

Today, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2011 Nissan LEAF a “Top Safety Pick” rating.

The rating is given to vehicles that achieve the Institute’s highest rating of “Good” in front, rear and side impact protection as well as being equipped with electronic stability control and earn a good rating in roof strength. The Nissan LEAF joins the Nissan Cube and Infiniti M37/M56 on the list of 2011 Top Safety Picks.

“Nissan has a long standing commitment to safety and innovation,” said Brian Carolin, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Nissan North America, Inc. “The award confirms that the commitment to passenger safety continues with the 100% electric Nissan LEAF.”

The Nissan LEAF is the first 100% electric vehicle to be tested by the Institute. Standard Nissan LEAF safety systems include Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual-stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt and occupant classification sensors, front seat-mounted side impact supplemental air bags, roof-mounted curtain side impact supplemental air bags for front and rear-seat outboard occupant head protection, 3-point ALR/ELR seat belts (driver’s seat ELR only) with pretensioners and load limiters, child seat upper tether anchor, LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system and child safety rear door locks. Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and Traction Control System (TCS) are also standard on all LEAF models.

While the integrity of the lithium-ion batteries themselves wasn’t the focus of the tests, the IIHS found that the installation of the packs near the center of the vehicles insulated them from any impact damage. Combined with automatic cut-off systems that activate in the event of collision, this prevented the batteries from transferring electricity to parts of the vehicles that a passenger – or the IIHS testing staff – might come in contact with.