Nissan Leaf Bends Around a Pole During Shocking 47 MPH DEKRA Crash Test

Automakers work tirelessly to keep drivers safe on the road, but the race to engineer safety systems to keep customers protected gets intersected with the never-ending desire to minimize costs while still managing to sell a high number of units.
Nissan Leaf Crash Test 3 photos
Photo: DEKRA
Nissan Leaf Side Crash TestNissan Leaf Side Crash Test
Different crash testing groups have different goals. Some, like the ones backed by governments, want to set safety standards and make sure automakers adhere to them, whilst others want to warn consumers of safety risks that might not be covered in “normal” tests.

The German based crashing company DEKRA (German Motor Vehicle Inspection Association) had teamed up with the University Medical Center of Göttingen for testing how safe small electric vehicles actually are, in a high-speed side pole crash impact test compared to normal combustion models.

It’s this kind of combination that brings us to this video here. One that shows a Nissan Leaf which scored a whopping 89% adult safety and 83% child safety, netting a 5 star Euro NCAP in 2012, getting bent around a pole during a side impact test. The test was done at a significantly higher speed than usual, 47 mph (75 kph), but still, the images are daunting.

According to DEKRA accident researcher Markus Egelhaaf: “the damage patterns from the crash tests are comparable to those of conventionally powered vehicles, the high-voltage system in the electric vehicles was reliably shut down during the crash. And despite the fact that the drive battery was severely deformed, no fire broke out.”

Whilst that sounds encouraging, it’s really difficult to imagine how the driver would have made it out alive from that collision. And that kind of raises some questions taking into account that the Nissan Leaf was the world's second best-selling electric car car in 2015 after the Tesla Model S, selling over 17,000 units in U.S. alone.

The research bodies were able to prove that their hard work has definitely paid off and that electric vehicles are indeed on equal terms with conventional ICE-powered ones when it comes to driver and passenger safety. And while the images picture a pretty dramatic scenario, and it is indeed quite shocking, it’s still an important test to show for raising awareness on the possible consequences of an accident.

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