audi etron
Source: Audi

The all-electric 2019 Audi e-tron has become the first ever battery electric vehicle to gain a coveted “Top Safety Pick+” title from US-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Qualifying for the award by earning good ratings for 6 crash-related factors, as well as top ratings for front crash prevention and headlights, the German car maker’s electric SUV was one of only two vehicles awarded the title in the Large SUV section, along with another Audi, the Q8 (but only with certain headlights).

First released globally in September 2018, the 95kWh e-tron quattro received the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ title for small front overlap collision evaluations on both the driver and passenger sides, moderate front overlap, side impact, roof strength, and head restraints and seat performance.

It also received a “good” rating for its Matrix Design LED headlights (which are included as standard on the e-tron) and a “superior” rating for its standard automatic emergency braking.

The e-tron’s automatic emergency braking system uses a front-mounted camera to monitor for pedestrians and cyclists at speeds of up to 83km/hr, and the system can bring the vehicle to a full stop when driving at speeds of up to 40km/hr.

Other safety features are central to Audi’s design of the e-tron, such as a sophisticated crash structure to protect the e-tron’s battery, and efficient cooling to further ensure the safety of the battery but also optimise power output.

The Audi e-tron also received a 5 star safety rating from the European road safety body NCAP in May, where it was given a 91 per cent rating for adult occupants, 85 per cent for children, 71 per cent for vulnerable road users and 76 per cent for safety assist features.

Interestingly, no Tesla vehicle was included in the 2019 IIHS top safety picks, despite the Model 3 being named the safest car ever tested by US road safety agency NHTSA.

While there are reports that Tesla has received a Cease and Desist letter from NHTSA to stop claiming this (it has in fact the lowest probability of injury, see article linked above), as Inside EVs notes, NHTSA’s own data shows that is the case.

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