Shopping for an Electric Vehicle? Here‘s Your Guide to the 7 Safest Choices

Safety remains the top priority for many drivers when researching their next car purchase. Thankfully there are now all-electric models on the market designed to protect passengers just as well as any flagship luxury vehicles.

To cut through the EV hype and identify those standouts when it comes to saving lives, we turn to the rigorous testing conducted by authoritative groups like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. By combing through their unbiased crash data and ratings, we spotlight the 7 safest electric vehicles you can buy today.

safety ratings image

How Vehicle Safety Gets Tested

Evaluating something as serious as how well vehicles protect human life requires intricate, thorough testing under extreme conditions. Groups like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) take on this responsibility.

NHTSA Testing Breakdown

The NHTSA replicats real-world crashes under controlled settings to generate comparative data. Vehicles undergo:

  • Frontal barrier impact – Unyielding barrier struck head-on at 35 mph
  • Side barrier impact – 3,015 pound movable barrier hitting vehicle at 38.5 mph
  • Side pole test – Vehicle directed into rigid pole at 20 mph
  • Rollover resistance – Determining risk of rollovers through a tripping mechanism

IIHS Testing Categories

  • Moderate overlap front – 40% of car‘s front hits barrier at 40 mph
  • Small overlap front – Just 25% of front impacts barrier at 40 mph
  • Roof strength – Crushing force applied through specialized plates
  • Head restraints – Measures potential neck injuries from whiplash
  • Side impact – Collision on driver‘s side with a barrier at 31 mph
  • Front crash prevention systems – Ability to avoid collisions at 12 and 25 mph

Comparing the NHTSA and IIHS Safety Ratings

NHTSAScoring MethodologyIIHSAward Levels
1-5 starsOverall score compiled from performance across all test categoriesGood
Top Safety Pick
Top Safety Pick+

To achieve NHTSA‘s highest overall 5-star rating requires a vehicle to score 5 stars on all frontal, side and rollover metrics.

The IIHS awards two tiers of safety designations. The standard "Top Safety Pick" requires good ratings across all tests. But to reach "Top Safety Pick+" vehicles must also demonstrate advanced or superior crash prevention capabilities.

Let‘s examine the electric models excelling across both rating systems.

1. Tesla Model Y

The Tesla Model Y midsize SUV sets the EV standard when it comes to occupant protection. The sleek tech-centric vehicle achieves perfect NHTSA five-star honors across the board along with IIHS’s maximum “Top Safety Pick +” designation.

Tesla Model Y

Active safety features help drivers avoid collisions with automated emergency braking, blindspot warning systems and responsive steering/braking support. Inside, the Model Y provides excellent crash protection through a reinforced all-electric architecture, fortified battery pack and passenger compartment, strategic crumple/collapse zones along with eight airbags sprinkled throughout.

Owners also benefit from Tesla’s continually advancing over-the-air software updates that add new capabilities enhancing safety and driving assistance. Impressive technological ingenuity combines with stalwart vigilance protecting human life.

Price Starting At: $65,990
Range: Up to 330 miles

2. Tesla Model 3

Following the Model Y as a repeat top safety achiever is Tesla’s mass market best-selling Model 3 sedan. Like its SUV brandmate, NHTSA and IIHS agree it sets the bar for protecting vehicle occupants.

tesla model 3

Tesla touts the Model 3 as achieving the lowest probability of injury of any vehicle in NHTSA testing history. Lightweight materials like aluminum alloys integrate with steel for maximum energy absorption while maintaining cabin integrity. Custom airbag deployment patterns further reduce collision forces on passengers.

Sleek exterior styling combines with interior luxury appointments in the safest electric sedan available. Tesla continues building upon a reputation of uncompromising vehicle safety.

Price Starting At: $42,990
Range: Up to 358 miles

3. Ford Mustang Mach-E

Proving veteran automakers can rapidly innovate alongside Silicon Valley, Ford’s Mustang Mach-E electric crossover exhibits stellar safety performance as well. Top NHTSA honors plus IIHS “Top Safety Pick” status certify the vehicle’s dedication to collision protection approaches rivals.

Ford Mustang Mach E

Inside the smartly styled Mach-E, reinforced steel cages the passengers while innovations like pre-tensioning seatbelts and knee airbags boost safety. Befitting its Mustang namesake, Ford also equips the vehicle with evasive steering abilities and intersection assist to avoid collisions when possible.

Savvy tech combining with Blue Oval brawn aptly protects families inside this electric icon.

Price Starting At: $46,895
Range: Up to 314 miles

4. Audi E-Tron

Germany luxury automaker Audi signals its safety competency through the cage-like security offered by its first fully electric entrant – the Audi E-Tron midsize SUV. Top ratings acknowledging such protection from both NHTSA and IIHS should ease any owner concerns.

Audi E-Tron

Audi engineers the E-Tron with sturdy space frame construction using ultra high-strength steel and aluminum to create rigid cocoons with designated crumple zones absorbing collision forces. Multiple side impact beams provide additional reinforcement.

Inside, occupants remain protected by eight total airbags along with rear passenger alert systems ensuring children are never accidentally left inside. Sophisticated traction/stability programs further aid accident avoidance, especially in low grip conditions. Punch the throttle and smoothly sprint away securely.

Price Starting At: $69,100
Range: Up to 222 miles

5. Hyundai Ioniq 5

The Ioniq 5 becomes Korean automaker Hyundai’s first EV earning prestige safety credentials like IIHS “Top Safety Pick+” honors. Bold visuals combining retro angles and clean lines house plenty of essential crash protection.

Hyundai Ioniq 5

Reinforced structural skeletons and eight strategically placed airbags encapsulate passengers. What Hyundai calls a “multi-load path body” structure lessens crash intrusions into the cabin. Features like automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and blind spot collision avoidance make accidents less likely.

The Ioniq 5 provides a sleeker EV option without sacrificing essential occupant security. Hyundai cements itself as an emergent safety leader.

Price Starting At: $44,875
Range: Up to 303 miles

6. Volkswagen ID.4

Volkswagen’s first purpose-built battery electric model, the ID.4 compact SUV, demonstrates that VW’s renowned German engineering prowess transfers into EV architectures consumers can trust. Top marks from both testing bodies affirms such dependability.


The ID.4 employs reinforced steel construction organizing essential crash structures to create dependable cages securing passengers. Airbags now envelop rear occupants as well who benefit from three-point safety belts and advanced headrests.

Systems alerting drivers of pedestrians, lane drifting and blind spots bolster accident avoidance efforts. VW also outfits the EV with automatic emergency braking. Stay safe on lengthy road trips tapping into three years free charging at Electrify America stations.

Price Starting At: $38,995
Range: Up to 275 miles

7. Kia EV6

The boldly designed EV6 becomes Kia’s electrified standout act after securing runner-up IIHS “Top Safety Pick+” honors alongside Hyundai’s Ioniq 5. Built on the same dedicated EV platform, the two Korean counterparts share much of the same safety DNA.

Kia EV6

Nine total airbags spread throughout the EV6 cabin supplement seat belts and advanced restraints. Ultra high strength steel combines with hot stamped steel creating sturdy cages mitigating side impact forces. Rear passengers gain protection from side airbags as well – not always standard.

Helping drivers avoid accidents, the EV6 comes equipped with evasive steering assistance, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alerts and leading vehicle departure notifications. Kia matches function with flair for those wanting style alongside safety.

Price Starting At: $42,115
Range: Up to 310 miles

Guiding the Future of Electric Vehicle Safety

Industry leaders like Tesla undoubtedly catalyzed mainstream EV adoption through exhilarating performance and removing range anxiety. But companies across the electric vehicle spectrum equally prioritize rider safety through rigorous testing partnerships and continual technology innovation. Engineers creatively integrate batteries, motors and electrical systems into designs protecting passengers at least as well as conventional internal combustion cars, if not better.

Groups including IIHS predict expanding automated driving assistance capabilities to steer, accelerate and brake will only bolster EV safety improvements in coming years. Smarter vehicles able to communicate, react faster and mitigate human driving errors assure promising outlooks for enhanced occupant protection.

Consumers also play key roles advocating for safety feature transparency from manufacturers and letting testing agencies know what information most impacts purchase decisions. Until the roadways fill only with fully self-driving cars, drivers choose the make and model where they place their confidence and precious family members. Hopefully the above analysis and safety recommendations aid your EV evaluations. Please share any feedback or topics to potentially add. Stay safe out there!

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