Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt Get Top Safety Ratings

DETROIT (CBS4) — A pair of electric cars has impressed an insurer-funded research group that looks into safety.

The Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf got top safety ratings in some of the first-ever tests of electric cars by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Both cars earned top scores for front, side and rear-impact crashes and for rollover crash protection.

While both the Leaf and Volt are classified as small cars, the institute said their heavy battery packs put their weight closer to large sedans. That extra mass helps protect their occupants, since heavier cars are less likely to be pushed around in a crash.

The institute said it was the first time it has tested road-worthy plug-in cars.

The federal government hasn’t yet released crash-test results for the Volt and Leaf.

(© 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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