Jun 06

Chevrolet Volt earns two NHTSA five-star safety ratings

 

Last Friday, General Motor announced the 2011 Chevrolet Volt became the first electric vehicle to earn a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The extended-range electric vehicle actually earned two out of three possible: It received a four-star front crash rating, a five-star side crash rating and a five-star rollover rating.

“Safety is a key consideration for all buyers no matter how a car is powered – gas, or in the case of the Volt, electricity,” said Doug Parks, Volt global vehicle line executive in a press release.


The Volt received a four-star rating from NHTSA for front impact. It received five stars for the other two tests.

This latest confirmation of the Volt’s exceptional safety engineering adds to the Top Safety Pick status the Volt earned from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety near the end of April.

Last fall, NHTSA imposed a more stringent vehicle rating system for the 2011 model year. The tests now evaluate crash avoidance technologies and also include a new side pole test simulating a 20-mph side-impact crash into a 10-inch-diameter pole or tree at a 75-degree angle just behind the A-pillar on the driver’s side.

More sophisticated crash test dummies were also brought in to use, including, for the first time, female dummies.

The new system’s overall crash score also is a new feature.

Last October NHTSA also said from among 2011 model year vehicles, it would test 24 cars, 20 SUVs, two vans and nine pickup trucks using the new system.

Thus far, 13 vehicles for 2011 have been evaluated, including the Toyota Prius and Chevrolet Cruze, both of which also earned NHTSA’s five-star safety ratings.

Safety features on the Volt include:
• GM’s StabiliTrak electronic stability control system
• Front-, side- , knee- air bags as well as roof-mounted head-curtain air bags that help protect occupants in a side or rollover crash
• Optional rearview camera system featuring a display integrated into the navigation system screen
• Five-year subscription to OnStar’s Directions and Connections Plan including Automatic Crash Response, stolen vehicle assistance and connected navigation

NHTSA has not tested the Leaf.

Source: GM, Automotive News

This entry was posted on Monday, June 6th, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 38


  1. 1
    nasaman

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (6:34 am)

    Good news (but not surprising, because the tougher IIHS tests done earlier already rated the Volt a “Top Safety Pick”)…. “the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced results from its first-ever U.S. crash evaluations of plug-in electric cars, and both the Volt and Nissan LEAF earned the top rating of “good” for front, side, rear, and rollover crash protection. As a result of their ranking, the IIHS bestowed on (both) the Volt and LEAF its TOP SAFETY PICK award for state-of-the-art crash protection.” *

    Interestingly, a spokesman for the IIHS said, “the IIHS tests are done over and above federal crash tests and present a tougher standard. Our tests are designed to push the envelope beyond what the government is requiring,” Rader said, “For example, the frontal offset tests that the Institute does is more challenging for the structure of the vehicle than the government’s test.” *

    “Our frontal test is a 40 mph offset test that concentrates the energy of the crash on the driver’s side,” Rader said, “The government’s 35 mph frontal test is a full-width test so it’s less challenging for the structure of the vehicle.” (He said the side impact tests are tougher too).*

    I therefore have trouble reconciling the NHTSA’s lesser 4-star frontal rating for the Volt with the IIHS’s “Top Safety Pick” overall rating. In other words, I find it puzzling that the NHTSA’s “less-challenging” frontal test didn’t result in a FIVE-star frontal rating???

    *http://gm-volt.com/2011/04/27/iihs-says-2011-chevrolet-volt-and-nissan-leaf-are-practically-as-safe-as-larger-cars/


  2. 2
    Tim Hart

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (7:26 am)

    Great to know how crash-worthy the Volt is, although I can’t imagine anything more depressing than the thought of smashing up a brand new Volt!


  3. 3
    Raymondjram

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (8:08 am)

    Tim Hart: Great to know how crash-worthy the Volt is, although I can’t imagine anything more depressing than the thought of smashing up a brand new Volt!

    It has already happened.

    One fellow member did lose his Volt in a frontal accident, but no one was hurt (except his pride!). GM has already given him the replacement Volt.

    Check the forum for previous posts about that lost Volt.

    Raymond


  4. 4
    Schmeltz

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (8:28 am)

    Tim Hart: Great to know how crash-worthy the Volt is, although I can’t imagine anything more depressing than the thought of smashing up a brand new Volt!

    Yeah Tim, those videos are hard to watch! Great to know that those cars didn’t die in vein, and gave those great test ratings!


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    Jun 6th, 2011 (9:10 am)

    Do they do a test for getting rear-ended at high-speed? Seems like that would be a vital spot on the Volt due to the gas tank, and these are a common style of crash.


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    kdawg

     

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (9:11 am)

    Would the pedestrian alert be considered a safety feature?


  7. 7
    Loboc

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (9:54 am)

    nasaman: Rader

    Rader = Nader. These extreme tests can make perfectly good cars appear not-so-good.

    Better to have enhanced driver’s education and enforced alcohol restrictions than make cars very expensive so they save their drunken ignorant drivers.

    Besides, cars crash into cars more often than into cement-reinforced walls. How often do people drive sideways into poles?

    I suspect that an alcohol-testing ignition interlock would reduce deaths more than increasing the survivability of extreme crashes.

    Edit: and anybody caught yacking or texting on a phone should be summarily shot!


  8. 8
    kdawg

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (10:19 am)

    Loboc: Rader = Nader. These extreme tests can make perfectly good cars appear not-so-good.
    Better to have enhanced driver’s education and enforced alcohol restrictions than make cars very expensive so they save their drunken ignorant drivers.
    Besides, cars crash into cars more often than into cement-reinforced walls. How often do people drive sideways into poles?
    I suspect that an alcohol-testing ignition interlock would reduce deaths more than increasing the survivability of extreme crashes.
    Edit: and anybody caught yacking or texting on a phone should be summarily shot!

    Unfortunately, as someone who designs safety systems for industrial equipment, you have to protect idiots from themselves. It doesn’t matter how much you train them, they keep making better idiots.


  9. 9
    Dan Petit

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (10:34 am)

    nasaman,

    I really agree with you, nasaman. One wonders if the testers are subjectively hedging somehow in not meriting with the five star frontal rating. This ought to be explained in more detail by them, and, if the threshold for the five stars was just nearly met or not. Gen 2, if coming on line in the not too distant future, likely may have those considerations addressed already, if not within the new Gen 1 production increase setting up in a few weeks.


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    Kent

     

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (11:02 am)

    Raymondjram: It has already happened.

    One fellow member did lose his Volt in a frontal accident, but no one was hurt (except his pride!). GM has already given him the replacement Volt.

    Check the forum for previous posts about that lost Volt.

    Raymond

    “GM has already given him the replacement Volt”? GM gives replacement Volts??? They’re not kidding with those “Bumper-to-Bumper” warranties are they?


  11. 11
    Mike-o-Matic

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (11:13 am)

    Kent: “GM has already given him the replacement Volt”? GM gives replacement Volts??? They’re not kidding with those “Bumper-to-Bumper” warranties are they?

    Surely that just means he was able to obtain another Volt with the insurance settlement (or by just buying another one if the loss was not insured).

    No way is a manufacturer gonna replace a car because somebody crashed it.


  12. 12
    Kent

     

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (11:22 am)

    Mike-o-Matic,

    Yeah, I was just kidding about the “giving”. I was just surprised that this guy didn’t have to wait in line again for a new Volt and got a replacement so quick.


  13. 13
    CorvetteGuy

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (11:24 am)

    Lab testing is great, but these things should be tested in the real world.
    Oh. Wait! It has….

    v1small.jpg

    v2small.jpg


  14. 14
    James

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (11:36 am)

    I heard the NHTSA gave the frontal crash barrier four stars.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


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    Jim in PA

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (11:48 am)

    kdawg,

    I remember years ago, 60 Minutes or some news show ran a sepcial on how the danger of rear collisions is mostly from the driver and passenger seat backs collapsing backwards into the backseat, causing occupants to then be ejected out the back window (with the seat backs acting almost as ramps). For years, this has been a HUGE safety weakness in all cars except pickup trucks where the seats can’t collapse backwards. I’d be interested to see what improvements have (or haven’t) been made in this area.


  16. 16
    Streetlight

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (12:12 pm)

    Hi #7 Loboc said:

    “I suspect that an alcohol-testing ignition interlock would reduce deaths more than increasing the survivability of extreme crashes.”
    ———————————————————-

    Your faith in the IID (ignition interlock device) is well grounded and indeed much appreciated. Its just too bad I was unable to convince NHTSA (c.1990) to make the ‘National Specification’ more driver friendly. (Ditch the so-called ‘rolling retest’) In our 1986-89 California Pilot Program county of approx 200 installations (I don’t want to ID myself) we found most (but hardly all) drinkers welcomed being able to reliably test themselves. (Our IID being a driver-friendly true scientific instrument – deadnuts accuracy at better than 0.002% BAC – at a breath-test time average of 2-4 seconds!!) And for the record, the only IID to meet all [c.1985] applicable SAE specs. One other note: GM’s then Safety group participated in early (1986) work shops.

    Here GM produces a game-changer – VOLT – and some dealers are dealing from the bottom of the deck. Register the car in the dealer’s name take the $7500 credit and then sell VOLT – way over MSRP. GM needs to clamp down hard on dealers
    practicing unethical policies.

    A big CONGRATS again to VOLT’s design team.


  17. 17
    James

     

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (12:26 pm)

    Hey Jeff – Who is the Admin. of the Forums page?

    RECHARGE!,

    James


  18. 18
    Mark Z

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (12:46 pm)

    No video display on the iPad due to lack of flash; will have to use the computer later to view.

    The crash rating has affected my auto purchases in the past. Nice to know I can enjoy the Volt more now than ever. Thanks GM for the quality of excellent crash protection.


  19. 19
    Kent

     

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (12:54 pm)

    Does anyone know how this has affected the insurance costs on the Volt? Can someone from the S.F. Bay Area with a Volt provide some insight on what I can expect for insurance premiums?


  20. 20
    DonC

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (1:07 pm)

    Regardless of why the Volt didn’t get a 5 star rating in the frontal crash test, here is how some other cars did:

    2011 Prius: 5 overall, 4 front crash, 5 side crash, 4 rollover
    2011 HCH: 3 overall, 4 front crash, 2 side crash, 4 rollover (HCH=Honda Civic Hybrid)

    What is also interesting is that the information being used is more granular than the stars. Not a lot of cars have been tested, but the Audi A4 got an overall 4 star rating though it got five stars on the side crash and rollover and a four star on the frontal, just like the Volt. The BMW 5 series got the same ratings as the Volt.

    All the info can be found at safercar.gov.


  21. 21
    Jeff Cobb

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (1:16 pm)

    James,

    Helena Barclay – I’m told you can PM her at Admin.


  22. 22
    nasaman

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (1:31 pm)

    James: I heard the NHTSA gave the frontal crash barrier four stars.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James

    Correct — but my question is why didn’t Volt get 5 stars for frontal (for rationale, read post #1).


  23. 23
    kdawg

     

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (1:40 pm)

    Jim in PA: I remember years ago, 60 Minutes or some news show ran a sepcial on how the danger of rear collisions is mostly from the driver and passenger seat backs collapsing backwards into the backseat, causing occupants to then be ejected out the back window (with the seat backs acting almost as ramps). For years, this has been a HUGE safety weakness in all cars except pickup trucks where the seats can’t collapse backwards. I’d be interested to see what improvements have (or haven’t) been made in this area.

    In the early 90′s I to drove an Olds Calais. I was sitting in the left lane, waiting to make a left turn with my blinker on, when a guy in huge truck rear-ended me at 40mph. The back bumper got pushed flush to the rear seats. My driver’s seat did what you said, collapsed backwards to lay flat on the back seat. I hit hard enough to blackout & require stiches on the back of my head (and had the worse headache of my life). Luckily my steering wheel was straight, so i got launched 20ft forward instead of left into oncoming traffic.

    I always see crash-tests for head on collisions, but never for rear-end ones. Seems like this would be a standard test, as this is a common accident.


  24. 24
    DonC

     

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (1:46 pm)

    nasaman: Correct — but my question is why didn’t Volt get 5 stars for frontal (for rationale, read post #1).

    On the government test the female passenger suffered more virtual injuries. Different result on the Cruze.

    The offset crash has the barrier on the driver’s side and the Volt got a five star rating for the driver on the government test. Just speculation but there is a lot going on in the Volt’s frontal area, and it’s asymmetric, so this might account for the difference between the sides and the two tests.


  25. 25
    DonC

     

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (2:01 pm)

    kdawg: In the early 90′s I to drove an Olds Calais. I was sitting in the left lane, waiting to make a left turn with my blinker on, when a guy in huge truck rear-ended me at 40mph.

    Sorry to hear about this. For some reason this happens a lot more than you think it would. My neighbor got hit at a light turning near our houses under very similar circumstances. There is a light and a separate turn lane. A woman just ran right into him. Go figure.

    Hope you didn’t suffer any lasting injuries. The lesson learned is that accidents do happen so it’s best to be prepared.


  26. 26
    Noel Park

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (3:11 pm)

    I expected no less. Well done GM.


  27. 27
    Loboc

     

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (4:00 pm)

    Mark Z: No video display on the iPad due to lack of flash; will have to use the computer later to view.

    The crash rating has affected my auto purchases in the past. Nice to know I can enjoy the Volt more now than ever. Thanks GM for the quality of excellent crash protection.

    O.T.

    Same with iPhone, but, I just used a real computer. Ya need a real computer anyway since ya need iTunes to backup/restore/upgrade etc.

    I’ll be much happier with iPhone if they would open it up a little. It could truly replace 90% of what I do on a laptop. I already do most of my banking and surfing and all of my email on iPhone. The thing is amazing. (IOS5 is looking good as well.)

    We’re working on an iPad rollout at corporate for the bigwigs to do all their flashboard stuff like ‘what are sales tracking this morning?’. It’s really cool stuff. A bunch of us engineers are busy playing games on them right now.:) (Hey! Games really stress out systems and networks. It’s a good test! Really!)


  28. 28
    Loboc

     

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (4:21 pm)

    kdawg: In the early 90′s I to drove an Olds Calais.I was sitting in the left lane, waiting to make a left turn with my blinker on, when a guy in huge truck rear-ended me at 40mph.The back bumper got pushed flush to the rear seats.My driver’s seat did what you said, collapsed backwards to lay flat on the back seat.I hit hard enough to blackout & require stiches on the back of my head (and had the worse headache of my life).Luckily my steering wheel was straight, so i got launched 20ft forward instead of left into oncoming traffic.

    I always see crash-tests for head on collisions, but never for rear-end ones.Seems like this would be a standard test, as this is a common accident.

    I got rear-ended in my ’88 Cougar by an ’88 TBird (basically the same car). He hit me so hard (50mph vs 0mph) that my seat collapsed and I ended up in the back seat. The seat collapsing is supposed to happen to absorb some of the impact. I was making a left turn into my driveway at the time.

    The impact removed the rear bumper and axle from my car and the hood and engine from his. My roof was bent in the middle of the car and the bushel of steamed crabs in the trunk exploded. (That’s the part that really hurt!)

    I still have a torn muscle in my back (detached from the left scapula) that gives me fits if the weather changes. The doctor said that if I had seen him coming, I would have grabbed the wheel and torn out all the ligaments in my arms that make the fingers work. Not a good outcome for someone that works at a keyboard for a living.

    I was very lucky. I walked away with just the one torn muscle. Their airbags deployed and nobody was hurt at all in the TBird. I really liked that car.


  29. 29
    nasaman

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (6:06 pm)

    WAY OT, but here’s a little change of pace and/or comic relief from an old friend of mine:

    The year is 1910 one hundred years ago. What a difference a century makes!

    Here are some statistics for the Year 1910:

    - Fuel for a 1910 Ford model R car was sold in drug stores only.

    - The average life expectancy for men was 47 years.

    - Only 14 percent of all homes had a bathtub.

    - Only 8 percent of all homes had a telephone.

    - There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads.

    - The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

    - The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower!

    - The average US wage in 1910 was 22 cents per hour.

    - The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.

    - A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a
    veterinarian from $1,500-$4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.

    - More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME.

    - Ninety percent of all Doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION! (Instead, they attended so-called
    medical schools, many of which were condemned by the government as ‘substandard.’)

    - Sugar cost four cents a pound.

    - Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen. Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.

    - Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

    - Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.

    - The Five leading causes of death were:

    1. Pneumonia and influenza
    2. Tuberculosis
    3. Diarrhea
    4. Heart disease
    5. Stroke

    - The American flag had 45 stars.

    - The population of Las Vegas , Nevada , was only 30!

    - Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn’t been invented yet.

    - There was no Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.

    - Two out of every 10 adults couldn’t read or write and only 6 percent of all Americans
    had graduated from high school.

    - Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores.

    - Back then pharmacists said, ‘Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind,
    regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health’

    - Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.

    - There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE USA!

    (I am now going to forward this to someone else without typing it myself. From there, it will be sent to others all over the WORLD – all in a matter of seconds!)

    Try to imagine what things might be like in another 100 years!


  30. 30
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    Jun 6th, 2011 (7:47 pm)

    These tests are not accurate and can only compare cars of the same weight. Try crashing a Volt into a Prius.. you will find that the Volt will do much better not just the same as… as both getting 5 stars would indicate.

    Crashing a car into a fixed barrier is like crashing into the same size and weight car. So that is why some 4000lb cars are getting the same scores as a 2500lb car… which is totally false.. and a false sense of security. Fact is that the heavier car has the advantage. Crashing the heavier Volt into a the lighter Prius will reveal a huge difference they will NOT be equal.


  31. 31
    xiaowei1

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (7:50 pm)

    nasaman,

    References please, or 1910 did not happen… hmmm…


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    Rashiid Amul

     

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (9:06 pm)

    nasaman: Only 8 percent of all homes had a telephone.

    We are going back down with this one.
    Many people are giving up their land lines for cell phones.
    We might reach 8% again.

    This was good Nasaman. Thanks.


  33. 33
    Raymondjram

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (9:52 pm)

    Nasaman, you are off by one year. We are in 2011, so the list should be for 1911.

    I bet not much had changed, anyway. BTW, in 1911 all my grandparents still lived in Puerto Rico as young children, and our American citizenship was still six years away:
    “On March 2, 1917, the Jones-Shafroth Act was signed, granting collective United States citizenship to Puerto Ricans.”

    Maybe by 2111 we will become the 51st state (or the 52nd after Iraq).

    Raymond


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    kdawg

     

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (10:31 pm)

    Loboc: I was very lucky. I walked away with just the one torn muscle. Their airbags deployed and nobody was hurt at all in the TBird. I really liked that car.

    The only thing I walked away with was a nice scar and a “get well” card from the owner of the company truck that hit me. I think he was scared I was going to sue. I could have, but that’s not my style. Oh, and I had to pay a tow truck to take the car to a junkyard.

    Kinda funny, even though my trunk no longer existed from the collision, not a single window broke! Even the small one from the rear that popped out and landed on the road didn’t break.


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    kdawg

     

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (10:40 pm)

    pjkPA: These tests are not accurate and can only compare cars of the same weight. Try crashing a Volt into a Prius.. you will find that the Volt will do much better not just the same as… as both getting 5 stars would indicate.
    Crashing a car into a fixed barrier is like crashing into the same size and weight car. So that is why some 4000lb cars are getting the same scores as a 2500lb car… which is totally false.. and a false sense of security. Fact is that the heavier car has the advantage. Crashing the heavier Volt into a the lighter Prius will reveal a huge difference they will NOT be equal.

    The 3rd video has the cement barrier striking the Volt. I assume this would be similiar to a heavy car hitting it.


  36. 36
    Sonoma Richard

     

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    Jun 7th, 2011 (12:23 am)

    Kent,

    We pay $870.00 per year for complete insurance for our Volt (two drivers)…this is after a $50.00 per year rebate for having OnStar!!!

    The tougher thing was for the dealer to calculate the cost of an extended warranty. No history to use in the calculation.


  37. 37
    ed m

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    Jun 7th, 2011 (1:24 am)

    “five-star rating”

    must be that big heavy battery


  38. 38
    Sean

     

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    Jun 7th, 2011 (4:39 am)

    Ha! This should teach the critics that the Volt might be worth it they need to look at this and then maybe they’ll stop bickering there no good lips by saying the Volt is horrible, the Volt is horrible because it only uses gas wrong critics take a deeper look at it’s features and safety features critic and oil company losers! Also good work GM don’t give up by making the Volt safer than ever then before. Also GM make more alternative vehicles when it comes to the future.