EV roundup: Leaf and Volt are safe, iMiEV is cheap
By Christina Williams
Editor, Sustainable Business Oregon
The Nissan Leaf, shown here after a crash test, and Chevy Volt were both deemed safe by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced Tuesday that the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf both earned top marks for crash test safety in the institute's first ever test of plug-in electric vehicles.
The Volt and Leaf both earned the top rating of "good" for front, side, rear and rollover crash protection.
The cars are both classified as small cars by the institute, but hefty battery packs causes them to weigh in closer to mid-sized cars — which is potentially in their favor when it comes to safety as heavier cars protect passengers better than lighter ones.
Meanwhile Mitsubishi announced pricing and opened up orders for its electric car last Friday. The company will release about 2,000 of the 2012 Mitsubishi i, as its being called in the United States, in January 2012.
The car is priced at $27,990 before incentives. Assuming Oregon's incentive of up to $1,500 sticks around, on top of up to $7,500 from the feds, Oregonians could get an Mitsubishi i for as little as $18,990, a comfortable margin below the Leaf and the comparably priced Volt.
With an 80-mile range, the bubble-shaped i does fall short of the advertised range of the all-electric Nissan Leaf (the Volt is technically a hybrid,) which claims a 100-mile range.
Unlike the Ford all-electric Focus roll-out, which is focused on limited markets, the Mitsubishi i will be available to anyone, though proper charging infrastructure will have to be available. Mitsubishi's Memorandum of Understanding with the State of Oregon, signed last year, won't bump Oregonians to the front of the order line.
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