After Hyundai nominated its Nexo Fuel Cell SUV for early crash testing, it's become the first production hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (HFCV) ever tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the United States. The crash testing body awarded the vehicle a best-available Top Safety Pick+ rating.
Normally, low-volume, limited-market vehicles like the Nexo would not be included in IIHS testing. The testing body, which was founded by a conglomerate of automotive insurers as an independent safety testing entity, tests nearly all mainstream market vehicles in the US and its results are often a key part of the metrics used to determine insurance costs for consumers. Hyundai volunteered the Nexo, however, and IIHS saw it as an opportunity to test its first fuel cell vehicle for the US market.
Ultimately, the Nexo FCEV garnered an IIHS' "Top Safety Pick+" award, which is earned by both acing all crash testing (with top scores of "Good") and by receiving top scores in other testing for advanced safety equipment that includes crash avoidance systems and lighting. IIHS conducts a total of six crashworthiness tests, plus headlight acuity and advanced safety systems tests.
The six crash tests conducted by IIHS are designed to mimic real-world accidents. These include both moderate (about 1/3 of the vehicle) and small (about 1/4 of the vehicle) overlap frontal crashes, which account for the most injuries in automotive accidents, as well as side crash, rooftop (rollover), rear impact, and interior restraints (seats, head restraints, airbags) tests. IIHS publishes its full testing protocol for transparency.
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