"What powers the wheels is different, but the level of safety for the Volt and Leaf is as high as any of our other top crash test performers," says Joe Nolan, the Institute's chief administrative officer. "The way an electric or hybrid model earns top crash test ratings is the same way any other car does. Its structure must manage crash damage so the occupant compartment stays intact and the safety belts and airbags keep people from hitting hard surfaces in and out of the vehicle," Nolan added.
Classified as compact cars from their exterior dimensions, the Volt and Leaf are closer to mid-size and larger cars when it comes to their curb weights, thanks to their hefty battery packs. At 1,529 kg, the Leaf is heavier than a 2.0L Nissan Teana (1,447 kg), while the 1,705 kg Volt outweighs the Chevrolet Epica (1,500 kg). "The Leaf and Volt's extra mass gives them a safety advantage over other small cars. These electric models are a win-win for fuel economy and safety," Nolan says.