Many ‘Green’ cars are not safe enough

Many 'green' car models that are the subject of government subsidies do not pass muster in crash tests, according to Swedish road safety organization NTF.

Of 37 cars tested by NTF, 18 failed.

“It is very unfortunate that the subsidies should favour cars that are not road-safe,” said NTF president Björn Eriksson in a joint article in Dagens Nyheter with Anders Sundström, CEO of insurance company Folksam.

The pair said that a modern crash-safe car should have five stars in Euroncap’s crash tests and be fitted with Electronic Stability Control (ESC), a system used to improve a car’s handling, particularly when a driver loses control.

Cars should also have seatbelt reminders and effective whiplash protection. Based on these criteria, only 19 out of the 37 cars passed. The cars tested all qualify the government’s 10,000 kronor bonus for environmentally friendly cars.

Eriksson said there was a “blind spot” between green policies and road safety policies.

“Green subsidies are good, but they should be focused on those cars that fulfill road safety requirements. That’s at least what we place most highly. We wanted to point out that a number of the green cars do not gain the highest marks in crash tests and ESP and such like. We therefore think that the green subsidies should be changes so that they only cover those cars that meet the requirements.”

NTF also argued for abolishing taxes on safety equipment in company cars. The users of company cars are required to pay tax on extra equipment in their cars as a benefit in kind.