How Electric Cars Are Crash Tested for Top Safety Ratings

How Electric Cars Are Crash Tested for Top Safety Ratings

This tale is part of Plugged In, CNET’s hub for all factors EV and the long term of electrified mobility. From vehicle evaluations to valuable hints and the most recent marketplace information, we’ve got you covered.

Electric powered automobiles are diverse in many means and 1 of them is the way they crash. But are they far better or worse than a standard car or truck?

Tesla Model 3 crash test

A Tesla Product 3 throughout IIHS crash screening. It gained a Leading Safety Decide on + score, even though IIHS noted that the bottom of its A pillar deformed a relating to 8 inches rearward. 


The Insurance policies Institute for Freeway Safety, the most effective-known evaluator of auto basic safety, recently tuned up the creating the place it crashes vehicles to make sure it can cope with heavier types up to 9,500 lbs. That is far above the regular new automobile weight of 4,100 kilos but just barely adequate to check an electric powered Hummer pickup at 9,100 kilos and the presumably heavier electric powered Hummer SUV that comes in the spring of 2023. Even the comparatively svelte Volvo EX90 weighs 6,200 kilos, the Mercedes EQS 6,000 lbs . and a Tesla Model S sedan can hit 4,800 lbs.

Hummer EV platform

The significant “skateboard” of the Hummer EV pickup helps it weigh 9,063 lbs ., 2.2 periods as substantially as the common new motor vehicle.


All that lard is a superior detail if it really is encompassing you in a crash: Heavier autos are likely to press lighter automobiles about, transferring less power to the heavier car’s occupants. And EVs carry their more bulk down lower, supplying them a lower centre of gravity that resists rollovers. 

The top-promoting electric powered vehicles get pleasure from an enviable early monitor document in the IIHS security ratings: The Tesla Model 3 and the Design Y both equally make a Major Safety Decide on + as do the Hyundai Ioniq5 and Kia EV6. The Ford Mustang Mach-E falls just shorter with a regular Major Safety Pick partly owing to its mediocre typical headlights.

The IIHS subjects electric cars and trucks to the exact crash assessments as typical autos: Full frontal collision, different overlap collisions, roof integrity checks, all evaluated in accordance to how perfectly a automobile safeguards the occupants in each state of affairs. As with all cars it exams, the optimum collision pace for an EV is 40 MPH If crash examination carnage seems like a thing you wouldn’t want to be portion of, picture it 33% more rapidly with affect forces that boost as the sq. of that speed improve. 

Lincoln Town Car crash test from 1990

At 4,025 lbs . a 1990 Lincoln Town Automobile employed to be a legitimate heavyweight but with today’s trend toward vehicles, SUVs and electric powered motor vehicles, the Lincoln’s pounds is on the light aspect of typical.


IIHS says harm claims similar to motorists and passengers in EVs are above 40% reduce than what was witnessed from common auto occupants from 2011 to 2019, a trend comparable to that of HLDI details about hybrid autos. Aside from higher body weight, electric autos are normally a lot more modern-day and superior-tech, creating it far more likely they’ll have the most recent crash avoidance and survival technologies. 

EVs have a cost during their IIHS take a look at however the organization claims it truly is in no way experienced an EV capture fireplace or have a thermal runaway as a consequence of getting crash tested. Its analyze of auto fires in deadly vehicle accidents from 2009 to 2014 discovered a identical fee among conventional and electric powered cars. That explained, IIHS segregates freshly crashed EVs There are lots of tales of EVs catching fireplace very well immediately after a collision, but it truly is likely overblown considering that we rarely observe the in excess of 170,000 combustion motor vehicle fires each 12 months.

Burning Tesla Model S

If this was a fuel-engined motor vehicle, no person would treatment.

Screenshot by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Base line: You probably want to be in an EV for the duration of a collision to reward from its greater pounds, reduce centre of gravity, more recent basic safety tech and threat of hearth that is just not notably bigger than automobiles that have a massive tank of flammable liquid.