As for the 2017 i3, the smallest electric model in BMW's lineup earned "good" ratings in the following tests: small overlap and moderate overlap, side, and roof strength. "Measurements from the dummy indicated that injuries to the head, along with the lower right leg, would be possible in a real-world crash of the same severity". The organization will test the updated model at some time. It was the i3's head restraints and seats that did it in. Tesla uses a similar roof for its other Model S variants, but with the P100D having a larger battery pack than others, it could not get the "Good" and ended up with the "Acceptable". The Model S has earned the highest ratings on USA government crash tests, but IIHS performs different tests. While automatic braking equipment comes standard, Tesla hasn't yet activated the software for all vehicles.
Two of the most prominent electric cars have missed out on the highest award given for vehicle safety by the influential IIHS: Top Safety Pick+.
As for the i3, BMW's model won an "acceptable" rating for its inability to protect drivers from neck injuries, which, while "rarely fatal", can lead to "debilitating pain", the IIHS said. "Neither of these (potential injuries) were so high that we would expect life threatening injuries, but they are too high in our opinion to get "Good" ratings for those body regions", said Dave Zuby, a spokesperson for IIHS.
According to IIHS, the tests were on Tesla cars built after October 2016.
IIHS also said that P100D versions of the Model S got an acceptable rating on the roof strength test rather than a good rating, which all of the other trims received.
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Plug-in hybrids Chevrolet Volt, manufactured by General Motors Co.(GM), and Toyota Motor's (TM) Prius Prime, have both received "Top Safety Pick+" awards. The Prius Prime is the more miserly of the two getting 54 mpg while the Volt came in at 42 mpg.
Tesla's Model S, an all-electric luxury sedan that starts at $72,500, earned good ratings in four of the institute's five tests, including a side impact test and a head restraint test. The vehicle must also have an available front crash prevention system that earns a rating of advanced or superior.
Its headlights were also rated "Poor", but Tesla claims it's working with suppliers to remedy that.
Tesla told IIHS that it made a production change on January 23 to address the head-contact problem and IIHS will test the updated Model S for small overlap protection as soon as it can be delivered.
The IIHS says it plans to test the Chevrolet Bolt EV electric auto soon.