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

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.

Join the conversation
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.

  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.
  • Inside Looking Out Why not buy Bronco and call it Defender? Who will notice?