Since it was launched December 2010, the Chevrolet Volt has garnered top crash test marks by the U.S. government and Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, but a recently mangled Volt offered graphic evidence of its safety potential.

The compact “extended-range” electric vehicle has extra heft from its battery that – combined with sound structural engineering – has let it do almost as well in tests as larger class vehicles, and this was put to the test when a drunk driver smashed into a 20-year-old woman in California.


Following is a explanatory letter posted to the Web site:

John Hughes
Chevrolet Volt Marketing & Promotions Manager

Hi Mr. Hughes,

I got your name from my Volt Dealer here in Orange County, CA.

I bought a 2013 Volt in November 2012 for my 20 year old daughter Caroline and we all loved it.

I have a Porsche 911s and a BMW 740il. The Volt was our favorite car to drive.

On August 3rd, a drunk driver hit Caroline from the right rear traveling in the same direction.

The drunk driver hit our Volt so hard it knocked the Volt off the road down a 15 foot embankment.

Caroline in the Volt rolled several times down the embankment before hitting a tree.

Caroline was taken by ambulance to a local hospital where she suffered only a black eye, arm lacerations and stitches to her left foot. Our Farmers insurance adjuster said he never saw a car that mangled without a fatality.

We are grateful to you and GM for making the Volt so safe. The fact that Caroline survived that crash was a miracle from God and the 10 Volt airbags. I am in the middle of buying another Volt right now and thought you would like to share this story with anyone else at GM or with any potential Volt buyers.

Dr. Kerry Johnson