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The 7 Safest EVs on the Market in 2023

Buying an electric vehicle (EV) comes with many perks – saving on gas, reducing your carbon footprint, access to carpool lanes in some states. But safety should still be every car buyer‘s top priority.

When it comes to EV safety, there is good news. Electric vehicles now come equipped with cutting-edge safety features and structural enhancements that make them among the safest cars on the road. Many have earned top ratings from safety testing organizations.

In this guide, we will countdown the 7 safest EVs available in 2023 based on safety ratings and test performance. You‘ll also learn:

  • How vehicles are safety tested
  • Must-have safety features in modern EVs
  • Why EVs tend to be safer than gas-powered cars
  • Key factors that improve EV crash protection

So let‘s get started with the safest electric vehicles you can buy today!

How Vehicles Get Safety Ratings

In the US, new vehicles are put through rigorous crash testing by two organizations:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

The NHTSA is a government agency that awards an overall 1-5 star safety rating. Their tests evaluate:

  • Frontal crash
  • Side crash
  • Rollover risk

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

The IIHS is an independent group that does additional crash tests and gives a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ rating. Their evaluation includes:

  • Overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests
  • Headlight visibility
  • Child seat anchors (LATCH) accessibility
  • Collision avoidance features

Using these comprehensive tests, the most protective and crash-worthy vehicles earn top honors. Now let‘s see which electric cars come out on top!

#1 – Tesla Model Y

Price Range: $65,990-$129,990
Max Range: 330 miles

The sleek Tesla Model Y crossover SUV has earned a coveted Top Safety Pick+ award from IIHS for 3 years straight (2021-2023).

The Model Y gets top "Good" marks in all IIHS collision tests, proving its reinforced structure and safety cages provide excellent protection. It loses a few points for acceptable headlights and finicky child seat anchors.

The NHTSA also gives the Tesla Model Y 5 out of 5 stars for overall safety. It earns 5 stars in every subsection – front, side, rollover – outperforming almost every gas-powered competitor.

Tesla Model Y

Safety Features:

  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Blindspot monitoring
  • Surround view camera
  • Lane keep assist
  • Lane departure warning

The cutting-edge Autopilot driver assistance system also helps avoid collisions.

With its rigid structure, low center of gravity (reducing rollover risk), and high-tech safety systems, the Tesla Model Y sets the standard for electric vehicle protection.

#2 – Tesla Model 3

Price Range: $46,990 – $62,990
Max Range: 358 miles

Tesla takes the #2 spot as well with its popular Model 3 sedan, which matches the Model Y‘s accolades.

The Model 3 has achieved an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award for the last 3 model years running. It earns “Good” marks across the board for high crashworthiness.

Like the Model Y, the only downsides are acceptable headlights and latches that can be confusing when installing child seats. Still, those small negatives don’t override its standout collision protection.

The NHTSA also gives the Tesla Model 3 a perfect 5-star safety rating. In fact, when it first debuted, the Model 3 had the lowest probability of injury of any vehicle ever tested by NHTSA.

Tesla Model 3

Safety Features:

  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Obstacle aware acceleration
  • Lane departure warning
  • Collision avoidance assistant

With continued safety innovations and improvements coming from Tesla with each new model, the Model 3 and Model Y both deliver supreme protection for drivers.

#3 – Ford Mustang Mach-E

Price Range: $46,895-$63,095
Max Range: 314 miles

While Tesla dominates the top two spots, the electric Ford Mustang Mach-E demonstrates that high safety standards aren’t limited to just one brand.

The Mustang Mach-E earns a coveted Top Safety Pick from IIHS in 2023 testing. It achieves “Good” marks across most tests, with just acceptable headlights and a marginal score for the ease of latching child seats securely.

The NHTSA also awards the Mustang Mach-E a 5-star overall safety rating. It performs well in side impact, side barrier, and rollover resistance assessments.

Ford also equips the vehicle with useful active safety features:

Ford Mustang Mach E

Safety Features:

  • Pre-collision assist
  • Auto emergency braking
  • Lane centering
  • Blindspot information system
  • Post-collision braking
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Auto high-beam headlights

With continued improvements, the Mustang Mach-E may claim an even higher safety tier. But for now, it still bests most of the competition.

#4 – Audi E-Tron

Price Range: $65,900-$88,000
Max Range: 222 miles

Luxury and safety combine beautifully in Audi’s electric SUVs. The sleek Audi E-Tron earns a Top Safety Pick+ award from IIHS, making it one of the safest on the market.

The Audi E-Tron gets “Good” marks across the majority of IIHS crashworthiness exams. It actually surpasses Tesla in one area – having easier to use latch anchors for car seat installation. The E-Tron does lose points though for merely acceptable headlights.

The NHTSA also grants the Audi E-Tron 5 stars for overall safety. While the combined frontal crash rating is 4 stars, the side impact protection remains top-notch.

Audi E-Tron

Safety Features:

  • Pre sense basic
  • Pre sense front
  • Lane departure warning
  • Cross traffic assist
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Turn assist
  • Collision avoidance assist

With vigilant driver aids and robust crash protection packed into a luxury package, the E-Tron establishes itself as one of the most well-rounded safe options.

#5 – Hyundai Ioniq 5

Price Range: $39,700-$54,500
Max Range: 303 miles

Hyundai’s EV debut model, the Ioniq 5, captures widespread attention for its retro-futuristic styling and approachable pricing. But safety is also one of its winning attributes.

The Ioniq 5 secures an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating in 2023 testing. It matches most top competitors with “Good” crashworthiness scores and a bevy of high-tech safety features. Deductions come from marginal seat belt reminders and acceptable structural rigidity behind the second row.

While not yet tested by NHTSA, expected results should align with corporate cousin Kia’s EV6 safety ratings (covered later). Five stars seems likely.

Hyundai Ioniq 5

Safety Features:

  • Forward collision avoidance
  • Blind spot collision avoidance
  • Rear cross traffic avoidance
  • Lane keeping assist
  • Driver attention warning
  • High beam assist

The Ioniq 5 provides drivers peace of mind with a lengthy list of intelligent driver aids backing up its resilient passenger shell.

#6 – Volkswagen ID.4

Price Range: $37,495-$50,195
Max Range: 275 miles

Volkswagen makes smart moves with the ID.4 electric SUV. Not only is its blend of style, range, and practicality appealing, but safety takes priority as well.

The ID.4 achieves IIHS Top Safety Pick+ status, matching the best electric models. Volkswagen equips it with “Good” structural integrity and straight A’s for ease of properly installing child seats. Headlights could improve from an “Acceptable” rating to truly excel.

The NHTSA also grants the ID.4 its highest overall 5-star safety rating. Side impact barriers, cross traffic alerts, and other tech assists grant it an edge over many gas-powered rivals.

Volkswagen ID.4

Safety Features:

  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear traffic alert
  • Adaptive cruise control

The upscale feel, up-to-date tech, and attentive safety systems installed in the ID.4 make it a sensible pick for family duty.

#7 – Kia EV6

Price Range: $47,000-$55,900
Max Range: 310 miles

Kia’s first dedicated EV, the EV6, shares a platform with Hyundai’s Ioniq 5. This provides a solid foundation focused on safety.

The EV6 claims at Top Safety Pick+ award from IIHS for 2023, indicating excellent crashworthiness and protection. Deductions occur from poorly ranked headlights. And like its twin, the Ioniq 5, structural rigidity behind the second row is only “Acceptable” versus “Good.” Still, top marks across all other exams solidify its position among the best.

While not tested yet by NHTSA, the EV6 will likely follow the Ioniq 5 in performance. Comparable crossovers with shared components typically achieve similar safety.

Kia EV6

Safety Features:

  • Forward collision avoidance
  • Blind spot collision avoidance
  • Rear cross traffic avoidance
  • Lane keeping assist
  • Lane following assist
  • Highway driving assist

Despite a few blemishes, the EV6 delivers all the essentials for crash protection along with driving aids to prevent accidents in the first place.

While no vehicle can promise zero risk, this lineup represents the highest safety performers in today‘s growing EV marketplace. Across categories like sedans, crossovers and SUVs, models like Tesla, Ford, Audi and more demonstrate that electric and protection can coincide.

Advanced structural engineering, new-age materials like aluminum alloys, and increasingly intelligent driver assistance technology all work together to make these electrics the safest on the road. So you no longer have to choose between going green and going protected!

Why Are EVs Considered Safer Than Gas Cars?

Several inherent traits improve an EV‘s ability to shield occupants:

  • Low center of gravity – Battery packs mounted below the floor drop an EV‘s height for reduced rollover tendency.

  • Front crumple zones – Long front ends with extra space before passengers allow superior impact absorption.

  • Sturdy safety cages – Structural rings with reinforced roofs better preserve survival space in collisions.

  • Advanced airbags – Special designs with extra side curtain protection deploy from strategic spots.

  • Automatic braking – Radar, camera and sensor-based AEB systems react quicker than humans to prevent rear impacts.

While more testing is still being conducted, early data suggests EVs may have at least a 5-15% lower risk of injury or death compared to gas vehicles of a similar size.

So not only are EVs cleaner and more convenient – they could save your life!

FAQs about EV Safety:

What is the overall safest electric vehicle?

Based on the latest IIHS and NHTSA testing data, the Tesla Model Y takes the top spot right now. The Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.4 rank closely behind.

How do manufacturers make EVs safer?

Strategic use of ultra high-strength steel alloys, ring-like safety cages, low centers of gravity, advanced airbags and collision avoidance software all contribute to EV safety.

Do EV batteries pose risks in a crash?

Despite fears over batteries, there are no recorded instances of electric packs exploding due to impacts. Rigorous testing shows cells stay intact, and liquid cooling prevents overheating.

Are used EVs as safe as new models?

Due to rapid innovation in EV crash engineering, newer models with the latest structural and software updates tend to score higher. Stick to vehicles made in 2020 or later.

Should safety influence my EV decision?

While range, performance and price make headlines, safety should be the ultimate deciding factor. Prioritize vehicles with Top Safety Pick awards to travel with confidence!

I hope this guide to the 7 safest electric vehicles provides useful insight to help you choose your next green car. Travel safely!

[This post was originally published on June 12, 2023. It has been updated with the latest NHTSA and IIHS testing results.]

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