The Renault Zoe and Lexus IS 300h have been named the safest cars in their respective classes for 2013 in Euro NCAP’s end-of-year list.
Renault’s all-electric Zoe was the highest scoring Supermini in Euro NCAP crash tests last year while Lexus’ IS 300h, which emits 99g/km of CO2, came out tops in the Large Family segment.
Both models achieved five star safety ratings, excelling in adult and child protection.
The safety assessor’s announcement provides further evidence that choosing an electric or hybrid car doesn’t equate to a compromise in vehicle safety, said Ben Fletcher, Product Manager for Electric Vehicles at Renault UK.
He commented: “By making the most of Renault’s expertise in safety, this shows that we can make an electric vehicle which is not just as safe, but actually even safer, than any of its competition, whether conventionally powered or otherwise.”
A spokesperson for Lexus added: “[We have] always had a strong reputation for providing some of the safest cars in the industry. This result is testament to that fact.
“However, safety does not come at the expense of great design. Features such as the 'pop up' hood on the IS, which deploys on impact with a pedestrian, has allowed us to lead on safety with one of the best-looking cars in the class.”
How both vehicles performed in Euro NCAP crash tests:
Lexus IS 300h
The news comes after the safety credentials of Tesla’s Model S were questioned in America, following several vehicle fires.
In addition, research conducted by TheGreenCarWebsite.co.uk late 2012 found that 84% of motorists believe that electric cars are at least as safe as a typical combustion car.
Other vehicles named in Euro NCAP’s best-in-class list were less environmentally-focussed: Jeep Cherokee, Maserati Ghibli, Ford Tourneo Connect, Kia Carens, and Chinese newcomer Qoros 3 Sedan, set for UK launch late 2014.
Euro NCAP introduced a tougher rating criteria at the start of 2013 but the fact that electric and hybrid cars still manage to fit in exceptional safety features in addition to all the electric gumph should be commended, said Euro NCAP Secretary General Michiel van Ratingen.
The Euro NCAP boss commented: “[We are] continuously evolving in response to industry innovation and consumer expectation. It is very positive that the number of four and five stars is still significant despite of the ever increasing requirements.”
The bar for vehicle safety standards has been nudged higher for 2014 with ratings now taking the effectiveness of forward collision warning and automatic braking technology into account.
Mr van Ratingen said this decision will encourage more carmakers to introduce similar systems and further improve the safety of all road users in Europe.
“We hope that this, together with very high levels of occupant protection, will allow consumers to choose the very safest vehicles in 2014,” he added.