YouTues: hitting the wall in an i-MiEV

You don’t have to be a dummy to smash up an electric car, but it helps

By Gavin Conway on November 15, 2011 2:39 PM

There has been lots of emotive debate around the crashworthiness of EVs, particularly in light of stories suggesting that Chevrolet Volts might be prone to self-immolation (see this Bloomberg story).

And yes, there are EVs out there that, because they are classed as quadricycles, aren’t subject to the stringent regulations and testing that full-sized passenger cars are. Those tiny, city-focussed EVs were once in the majority but that’s changing pretty dramatically with the advent of ‘proper’ pure-electric cars like the full-sized Nissan LEAF. It scored absolutely top marks in North American and European official crash testing, as did the Chevrolet Volt/ Vauxhall Ampera.

The Mitsubishi i-MiEV scored slightly lower than those two in EuroNCAP crash testing, but to be fair, it is quite a bit smaller than the LEAF and Ampera. And this week’s feature video shows the Mitsubishi undergoing crash testing (the first bit is the petrol-engine model, but we quickly come on to the pure-electric). It looks gruesome, but the thing to note is how little intrusion into (and deformation of) the i-MiEV’s passenger cell there is.

Yes, of course we’d all rather be in a Mercedes Benz S-Class if the worst were to happen, but this is still impressive stuff.