The Mitsubishi i-MiEV has become the first commercial EV to be tested under the European NCAP regime. The rating of 4 stars it was awarded represented a loss of just one star, which is pretty impressive for a small vehicle anyway. The i-MiEV high capacity battery suffered no damage in the crash testing, and the high-voltage emergency disconnection system designed to protect occupants and rescue workers also worked correctly.
It seems to me that these results from the respected NCAP testing lab prove not only that small city cars provide a high level of safety, but also that EV safety systems have also reached a high level of sophistication and safety as well.
Although less commented upon than the range issue, the introduction of large high-capacity batteries and high voltages into vehicles does call for new safety systems and approaches that were not required in ICE vehicles. That is not to say that cars with internal combustion engines are inherently safer – large quantities of flammable fuel sloshing around is obviously a safety concern – but simply that the safety questions concerning how to deal with gasoline in vehicles have been worked on for quite some time, whereas the problems associated with mass-production electric vehicles are obviously much more recent.
That said, it looks like Mitsubishi is on top of things with this early mass-production EV.
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