Hybrids protect occupants better than conventional cars - study

Can you guess what makes a difference?
Nov 22, 2011

TopGear.com.ph Philippine Car News - Hybrid cars protect occupants better than conventional cars – study

Hybrid vehicles apparently do a better job in protecting its occupants compared to their conventional counterparts, a study conducted by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) said. The HLDI is an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the United States.

According to the study, on average, the chances of being injured in a car crash are 25 percent lower for people in hybrid vehicles than for those who are traveling in fossil-fuel-powered vehicles.

"Weight is a big factor," said Matt Moore, HLDI vice president and an author of the report. "Hybrids on average are 10 percent heavier than their standard counterparts. This extra mass gives them an advantage in crashes that their conventional twins don’t have."

In the past, car buyers had to choose between safety or fuel economy as fuel-efficient cars often tended to be smaller and lighter. Now, consumers have more options than ever when it comes to picking an environmentally friendly--and crash-worthy--vehicle.

Although hybrids share the same footprint and structure with their conventional counterparts, they outweigh them because of the added heft of battery packs and other components used in dual-power systems. At over 1,300kgs, the top-spec all-new Honda Civic Hybrid is heavier by at least 36kgs over a similar -spec petrol-powered Honda Civic sedan, for example.

"Saving at the pump no longer means you have to skimp on crash protection," Moore added.

For the study, HLDI estimated the odds that a crash would result in injuries if people were riding in a hybrid versus a conventional version of the same vehicle. The analysis included more than 25 hybrid-conventional vehicle pairs, all 2003-11 models with at least one collision claim and at least one related injury claim filed under personal injury protection or medical payment coverage in 2002-10.

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