The Nissan LEAF has achieved a five-star Euro NCAP rating, in a latest test that required a more stringent protocol. Euro NCAP constantly raises the bar in its testing regime and 2018 has seen several new additions, which means achieving a five-star rating is tougher than ever. Key to the new program is the introduction of tests to assess the performance of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) systems which can detect cyclists.

Matthew Avery, director of research at Thatcham Research commented, “Safety campaigners have raised concerns about noise, or rather the lack of it, in fully electrified vehicles – especially in urban driving environments. This is why standard-fit AEB systems that can detect Vulnerable Road Users should be fundamental to any electric vehicle’s suite of safety technologies – as the Nissan LEAF demonstrates.”

He also highlighted the performance of the Nissan LEAF in impact testing, “Nissan has done a great job considering the additional challenges pure electric propulsion presents. Chief amongst those is the additional weight an electric battery brings, which must also be protected in the event of a crash. “In none of the impact tests did we see any compromise of the battery. In fact, the Nissan LEAF achieved maximum points in the side pole crash test, showing good containment of the battery.”

Euro NCAP: New protocols for 2018

Euro NCAP introduced the assessment of AEB technology into the vehicle star rating scheme in 2014. The first application was for car-to-car front-to-rear collisions, with a recent study[1] showing a 38% effectiveness for the technology at reducing such collisions. In 2016 AEB sensitive to collisions with crossing pedestrians was introduced into the scheme.

2018 sees the biggest shake up to date, with Euro NCAP test protocols covering a greater proportion of ‘real-world’ crashes occurring on the road, including:

Offset AEB scenarios where the car partially overlaps at the point of impact with the vehicle ahead were added to supplement the original full overlap car-to-car AEB test. Also, a walking-in-road scenario and testing during darkness were added to existing crossing pedestrian scenarios.

Thatcham Research

Thatcham Research is the independent voice of automotive safety & repair, advising motorists, insurers and vehicle manufacturers to help reduce accident frequency, severity and costs and to realise the vision of ‘Safer cars, fewer crashes’.

As well as its world leading crash and track research, Thatcham Research tests and accredits crash repair parts, vehicle repair technicians, and a number of other products and services within the collision repair industry for insurers, motor manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

In addition, Thatcham Research has been at the forefront of vehicle security since the 1990s when it introduced the New Vehicle Security Assessment (NVSA) to address levels of vehicle crime.