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Audi’s E-Tron becomes first electric car to win top safety award

Audi’s first all-electric car, the E-Tron SUV, has been named a top safety pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It’s the first battery-electric car to earn that distinction, beating out previous ones that fell short, like Tesla’s Model S or the Chevy Bolt. The agency released a handful of videos of the E-Tron being smashed up at its test facility, which you can see above and below.

The E-Tron earned “good” ratings across the board in the IIHS’s “crashworthiness” categories, which is the best distinction the organization offers. The IIHS also found that the E-Tron’s “Pre Sense Front” automatic emergency braking system performed well, avoiding a crash in the 25 mile per hour test. (The E-Tron slowed to 1 mile per hour before impact in the 12 mile per hour test.)

The Model 3 hasn’t been fully tested by the IIHS yet, though the organization recently announced that it’s currently in the process of putting the car through its paces. (A spokesperson says they have four Model 3s currently undergoing or awaiting testing.) The IIHS also hasn’t tested the Model X. Tesla questioned the nonprofit organization’s “methods and motivations” after the Model S didn’t receive the top safety pick distinction back in 2017.

A good rating from the IIHS is a boon for the E-Tron, which has had a rocky rollout. The vehicle’s unveiling was delayed after Audi’s CEO was arrested for his alleged involvement in the broader Volkswagen Dieselgate emissions cheating scandal. The actual release of the car was delayed because of battery shortages. And once E-Trons finally hit the road, Audi promptly recalled a few hundred because of a fire risk.

Next to Jaguar’s I-Pace, the E-Tron is one of the first serious long-range electric vehicles to hit the market in the luxury segment. It starts at around $75,000, and can travel about 204 miles on a single charge. Mercedes-Benz’s EQC electric SUV started rolling off the production line this summer, and Porsche’s first electric car — the Taycan — will be officially revealed in just a few weeks.


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