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27.04.2011 15:53
Plug-In Hybrids Get Top Marks in Crash Test
GM's Volt and Nissan Leaf got high scores in insurance companie's tests

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The plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt, made by General Motors Co, and the all-electric Nissan Leaf save on fuel , but the size and weight of their battery packs add significant crash protection as well, Reuters reported.

"The Leaf and Volt's extra mass gives them a safety advantage over other small cars," Joe Nolan, chief administrative officer of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said on Tuesday.

The closely watched group, underwritten by insurance companies, crash tested the two first generation 2011 plug-ins that were introduced late last year as the ultimate for consumers in fuel economy.

Both earned top safety ratings, an early validation for experts who say automakers do not have to sacrifice safety for better fuel economy, that advanced technologies can achieve both.

The Leaf weighs 3,370 pounds while the Volt is about 3,760 pounds. Nissan's Altima, a midsize, weighs about 3,200 pounds and the Chevy Impala, a large family car, 3,500 pounds. Heavier cars generally do a better job of protecting people in crashes but they do less well on fuel savings.

The findings also contrasted with a lackluster Volt endorsement earlier this year from Consumer Reports on efficiency.

TAGS: hybrid | plug-in | electric vehicles | security | crash test | sustainable development | transport 

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