Latest round of crash tests looked at electric cars

U.S. & World

(CBS News) – A new round of crash tests looked at cars that don’t run on gas.

The Tesla Model 3 was a success in tests at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

“It did well in all of our crash tests,” says David Zuby, the chief research officer at IIHS. He says the automaker’s lower-cost model earned a Top Safety Pick+ award.

“We have three frontal crash tests, then we do a side-impact crash where a barrier smashes into the side of the test vehicle at 31 miles an hour. We do a test of the roof’s strength by crushing the roof and then we do a simulated rear crash to see whether or not the head restraints and the seatback provide protection against whiplash injuries,” he says.

The electric Audi e-tron went through the same tests and also won the highest award. So did the hydrogen-powered Hyundai Nexo. In the crashes, the electric batteries and hydrogen tank did not pose a danger. The vehicles also protected against injury.

Zuby says, “We are looking at measurements from sensors in the dummy. Those sensors tell us how much forces would be acting on a human being and that relates to whether or not a person would be injured.”

The Chevrolet Bolt also scored well in most crash tests. But the car fell just short of an award because of the headlights which gave off too much glare.

“Basically what we’re looking for is a nice, bright view of the road ahead of the vehicle without putting too much light in a glaring way where an oncoming driver might be,” Zuby says.

All the cars got high marks for auto-braking technology that can stop a crash.

The Hyundai Nexo is available in California. It’s the only state with a network of hydrogen fueling stations.

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