Bragging Rights: Audi E-Tron Becomes First EV to Pick Up IIHS Top Safety Pick+ Award

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
bragging rights audi e tron becomes first ev to pick up iihs top safety pick award

Audi’s E-Tron has become the first battery electric vehicle to receive the coveted Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick+ award. However, considering the group rarely tests EVs, it may soon find itself with company. The IIHS requires an automobile to earn high marks in six crashworthiness evaluations, as well as an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention and a good headlight rating to be eligible for the commendation.

Chevrolet’s Bolt managed to achieve the necessary ratings in all categories, save for headlight illumination. The same was true for Tesla’s Model S — though that vehicle also received an “acceptable” rating for the small frontal overlap crash test. Other EVs have yet to undertake a full complement of tests, potentially giving the E-Tron a bit of a head start.

That said, the outlet was stoked enough to publish the news on its main site — noting that the Audi performed well across the board, earning “good” ratings in the front driver-side small overlap, front passenger-side small overlap, moderate frontal overlap, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests.

From the IIHS:

The SUV’s standard front crash prevention system rates superior in IIHS track tests. It avoided a collision in the 25-mph test and reduced its impact speed by an average of 11 mph in the 12-mph test. Its forward collision warning component meets National Highway Traffic Safety Administration criteria.

The e-tron’s only available headlights — static LEDs with high-beam assist — earn a good rating. High-beam assist is a system that automatically switches between high beams and low beams, depending on the presence of other vehicles.

Audi’s E-Tron doesn’t seem to undergo that much deformation in the crash-test footage, either. Even the dreaded driver-side small overlap test (below) shows minimal intrusion into the passenger compartment. The IIHS’ full breakdown also has the crossover acing every test thrown at it, including injury estimates. Audi appears to have done a fine job with the E-Tron, at least from a safety standpoint (the automaker moved fast with a fire risk recall in June), but we’re keen to see how other EVs stack up once the outlet starts shooting them at barricades.

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3 of 7 comments
  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Aug 16, 2019

    How does an OEM mess up on headlight performance in 2019? Between modeling/prototyping tools, supplier expertise, best practice/prior examples - seriously, how does it happen? (Clearly it does, but I just don't understand how.)

    • JimZ JimZ on Aug 17, 2019

      because the NHTSA standards are archaic and a lot of ineffective junk still technically passes their requirements.

  • SPPPP SPPPP on Aug 16, 2019

    Looks nice and safe. Pretty neat vehicle. Sure is pricey! But that's probably not a surprise to anyone.

  • ToolGuy Here is an interesting graphic, if you're into that sort of thing.
  • ToolGuy Nice website you got there (even the glitches have glitches)
  • Namesakeone Actually, per the IIHS ratings, "Acceptable" is second best, not second worst. The ratings are "Good," "Acceptable," "Marginal" and "Poor."
  • Inside Looking Out "And safety was enhanced generally via new reversing lamps and turn signals fitted as standard equipment."Did not get it, turn signals were optional in 1954?
  • Lorenzo As long as Grenadier is just a name, and it doesn't actually grenade like Chrysler UltraDrive transmissions. Still, how big is the market for grossly overpriced vehicles? A name like INEOS doesn't have the snobbobile cachet yet. The bulk of the auto market is people who need a reliable, economical car to get to work, and they're not going to pay these prices.