Safety: 2011 Chevy Volt gets NHTSA top safety rating image

The Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car has won the top five-star safety rating in government crash testing.

“Safety is a key consideration for all buyers no matter how a car is powered — gas, or in the case of the Volt, electricity,” said Doug Parks, Volt global vehicle line executive.

The Volt also has been named a 2011 Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as has Nissan’s electric Leaf.

For the first 35 miles, the Volt can drive gas- and tailpipe emissions-free using a full charge of electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery. When the Volt’s battery runs low, a gas-powered engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range another 344 miles on a full tank for a total driving range of 379 miles.

Specifically, the Volt was awarded five stars for side-crash and rollover tests, and four stars for frontal crash.

Helping the Volt garner the five-star award are standards features such as GM’s StabiliTrak electronic stability control system and front, side, knee and head-curtain airbags to protect occupants in a side impact or rollover crash. Chevy Volts also come with a five year subscription to OnStar services, which include Automatic Crash Response to deploy emergency services in the event of a crash.