(ARLINGTON, Va.) -- As gas prices continue to soar, more drivers are turning their attention towards electric vehicles. But just how safe are they?
In the first-ever U.S. crash test of electric cars, both the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf performed well, gaining the top rating for front, side, rear and rollover crash protection. The highest safety ratings garnered both vehicles the title of Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
"What powers the wheels is different, but the level of safety for the Volt and Leaf is as high as any of our other top crash test performers," said Joe Nolan, the Institute's chief administrative officer.
Nolan advised, however, that both vehicles' performance in the crash tests doesn't mean all electric vehicles are safe.
"The Volt and the Leaf shouldn't be confused with golf cart-like electric vehicles that don't have to meet any of the federal standards for crash worthiness," he said.
The Volt and Leaf offer some extra protection because they're heavy -- much of their weight comes from their batteries.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio