The Mitsubishi i-MiEV has made history by becoming the first ever electric car to be tested under the EuroNCAP safety tests.
During the test, the model was given a four-star rating – and since the EuroNCAP is designed to be well above official European safety standards, it indicates a strong start for electric vehicles in the UK.
The I-MiEV will share its rating with the identical C-Zero and Peugeot iOn and all three will be available to buy in the UK market.
Interestingly, the tests had to be modified slightly to take into account the lithium ion battery used to power the electric cars. According to EuroNCAP, special attention had to be paid to the battery integrity during the series of test crashes, including how effective the cut of switch was.
This switch is designed to isolate the high-voltage battery in the event of a crash and is essential to avoid any injury from the battery.
Other measures included extra fire-fighting measures – something that was not actually needed during the i-MiEV’s test.
According to Dr Michiel van Ratingen, EuroNCAP’s Secretary General: "It shows that a future 5 star accolade for EVs is not unthinkable.
"Whether produced by established car manufacturers or by new players on the market, consumers should expect to get electric vehicles that meet the same safety standards as conventional vehicles."
We agree. If a car is to share the roads with conventionally powered vehicles, it must be as safe as them to drive, travel in and if the worst was to happen – be hit by.
It will be interesting to see the next generation of electric cars tested in the EuroNCAP tests to compare them to the promising results returned by Peugeot, Citroen and Mitsubishi. At least one concern over electric cars can now be put to bed.
Below is a short video showing exactly how EuroNCAP tested the electric car using different criteria to a standard car, including the extra precautions needed for the first crash test of its kind.