Chevrolet Volt earns top gov't safety rating

June 3, 2011: 3:56 PM ET
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The Chevrolet Volt earned a top 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Adminstration and a Top Safety Pick Ward from the Insurance Insitute for Highway Safety.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The Chevrolet Volt earned a top five-star rating in thee federal government's new, tougher crash test rating system.

Under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's new rating system, all vehicles are given a single rating of one to five stars encompassing front and side impact safety as well as resistance to rollovers.

The Volt earned four stars for occupant protection in front-end crashes, five stars for side crash protection and five stars for resistance to rolling over.

The Volt is an electrically powered plug-in car. It can go about 35 miles on a charge, according to EPA estimates, before needing to turn on its gasoline engine to generate power.

General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) recently announced it would temporarily shut down the Detroit factory that produces the Volt as it prepares the facility to produce larger numbers of cars.

NHTSA used updated crash test regimen, introduced last year, which includes a new side crash test in which vehicles slide diagonally into a pole, mimicking a car skidding into a light post or tree.

The Volt and the Nissan (NSANY) Leaf electric car were both recently given Top Safety Pick Awards by the privately funded Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Institute, which is financed by auto insurers, conducts a different set of crash tests from those conducted by the government. To earn a Top Safety Pick Award, a vehicle must earn top scores in all of the Institute's tests.

NHTSA has not yet released crash test results for the Leaf. To top of page

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