Safest EVs Announced in IIHS Awards, IEA’s Clean Energy Report

Fifteen plug-in electric vehicles made it to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s 2024 Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ awards. TSP+ is the highest award given, with protection for passengers in the rear of the vehicle given more importance this year. Electric vehicles are included in vehicle size categories with traditional gasoline-powered models.

Hyundai Motor Group won the most overall awards this year — 16 awards across its three brands: Genesis, Hyundai and Kia. Mazda earned the most Top Safety Pick+ awards of any individual brand with five. Audi had the most awards — four — for the plug-in vehicles that made the rankings. Hyundai Motor Group tied Audi at the corporate level with four awards, but that was split evenly between the Hyundai and Genesis brands. Rivian took two of the awards.

The IIHS said that the standards for inclusion were toughened this year with the Institute demanding better protection for back seat passengers and improving their pedestrian crash avoidance systems. Last year’s biggest change was the replacement of the original side crash test with an updated version that uses a heavier barrier traveling at a higher speed.

Safety is one of the selling points for electric vehicles, along with durability, efficiency, and adaptability to climate conditions such as heat and snow. To determine its ratings, IIHS includes vehicles in its rankings that perform well in crashworthiness, front crash prevention, and headlight testing.

2024 Top Safety Picks
Small Cars
Toyota Prius Plus

Small SUVs
Hyundai Ioniq 5

Midsize SUVs
Mazda CX-90 PHEV

Large SUVs
Audi Q8 e-tron
Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron
Rivian R1S

Midsize Luxury SUVs
Audi Q4 e-tron
Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron
Genesis Electrified GV70
Lexus NX Plug-in Hybrid
Volvo XC90 Recharge

Large Pickups
Rivian R1T crew cab

2024 Top Safety Picks +
Hyundai Ioniq 6

Large luxury car:
Genesis Electrified G80

Midsize Luxury SUVs
Tesla Model Y

And in other news…………

IEA clean energy report: Continued expansion of solar, wind, nuclear power and electric cars helped the world avoid greater use of fossil fuels in 2023, according to International Energy Agency. Global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rose less strongly in 2023 than the year before even as total energy demand growth accelerated. The agency reported that without clean energy technologies, the global increase in CO2 emissions would have been three times larger in the past five years.
An exceptional shortfall in hydropower due to extreme droughts – in China, the U.S. and several other economies – resulted in over 40% of the rise in emissions in 2023 as countries turned largely to fossil fuel alternatives to plug the gap.

Apple out of EVs: While electric vehicle advocates have been waiting to see Apple keep its word and launch its own EV for the past decade, that it reportedly coming to a halt. Known as Project Titan, Apple was going to design and launch a fully autonomous EV that would compete with Tesla and every automaker going this route. Last month, Apple executives were said to have cancelled the project and focus more on the popular generative artificial intelligence. But, as The Atlantic said, you can’t get into most any car without seeing Apple technology in it. One was linking the smartphone to the to the car’s touch screen — and several ways that drivers have connected their car to their smartphone to take on multiple tasks without taking their eyes off the road.

Pepsi sued for plastics: The New York Attorney General’s environmental protection bureau made New York the first state to sue a company over plastic pollution. That came out of discovering that Pepsi plastic bottles made up 17% of the plastic waste found in the Buffalo River. The environmental protection bureau had been going through oil- and gas-based- plastic waste pulled from the river in western New York. Pllastic waste made up about 78% of trash that Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper volunteers had cleaned and inventoried from 2013 to 2022, according to data citied in the lawsuit from Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, a community-based organization dedicated to protecting the quality and quantity of water. Pepsi’s sustainability report says that the company has included cutting virgin plastic from non-renewable sources per serving 50% by 2030. Another goal is to reduce its absolute tonnage of virgin plastic derived from non-renewable sources by 20% in the same timer period, the company said.

Karma buys Airbiquity assets: Southern California-based electrified luxury carmaker Karma Automotive has acquired the technology assets and intellectual property of Seattle-based Airbiquity, a software company that develops and engineers automotive telematics technology and cloud services. Airbiquity has developed automotive commercial software with investors that include Toyota Motor Co. and Denso. Karma has also hired key technical employees and assumed the software company’s significant OEM contracts. “Their design maturity will help codify our strategies for software-defined and continuously connected vehicles,” says Karma President Marques McCammon.

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