By on August 16, 2019

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.

[Image: IIHS]

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7 Comments on “Bragging Rights: Audi E-Tron Becomes First EV to Pick Up IIHS Top Safety Pick+ Award...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The E-Tron is a pretty inefficient EV, but this safety performance rating is a nice benefit.

  • avatar

    I find it bizarre that the Bolt lost out on the headlamp illumination category. It has standard low/high HID projectors that are among the most effective on any car I’ve ever owned. Only the LS460’s HID low beams, which used uniquely large projector lenses, were better.

  • avatar

    Glare baby, glare! The Bolt’s headlights do a good job of providing visibility for the driver, but the low beams cause excessive glare for drivers in OTHER cars. Also the Bolt has yet to be tested in the passenger-side small overlap test.

  • avatar
    David Bloom

    Isn’t the Hyundai Nexo FCEV the first EV SUV to win Top Safety Pick +?

    In other word… the Audi e-tron is the first *BEV* SUV to win Top Safety Pick +. But it’s not the first EV SUV.

  • avatar

    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.)

  • avatar

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

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