2013 Honda Fit EV: Safety

The new Fit EV offers a broad range of standard active and passive safety features. Standard active safety features include Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with traction control, a 4-channel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist, and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).

To enhance passive safety, an Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure helps make the vehicle highly effective at absorbing and dispersing the energy of a frontal crash, while daytime running lights (DRL) and a pedestrian injury mitigation design in the front of the vehicle further improve safety. Additional passive safety features include dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags, front seatbelts with an automatic tensioning system, side-curtain airbags, front-side airbags with a passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS), front active head restraints that can help reduce the severity of neck injury in the event of a rear collision, and a Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) child seat mounting system.

Standard active safety systems

  • Advanced Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with traction control
  • Anti-lock brake system (ABS), Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Standard passive safety systems

  • Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure
  • 3-point seat belts in all seating positions
  • Front seat belts with automatic tensioning system
  • Driver and front passenger active head restraints
  • Driver and front passenger seat belt reminder
  • Dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags (SRS)
  • Front side airbags with Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS)
  • Side curtain airbag system (front and rear seats)
  • Side-impact door beams
  • Pedestrian-injury mitigation design in the front of the vehicle
  • Outboard Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system (both rear seats)
  • Child-proof rear door locks

Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) Body Structure
Like other Honda vehicles, the 2013 Fit EV utilizes Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body-structure technology to enhance occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal collisions. The ACE design utilizes a network of connected structural elements to distribute crash energy more evenly throughout the front of the vehicle. This enhanced frontal crash energy management helps to reduce the forces transferred to the passenger compartment and can help to more evenly disperse the forces transferred to other vehicles in a crash. Additionally, ACE helps minimize the potential for under-ride or over-ride situations that can happen during head-on or offset frontal impacts with a larger or smaller vehicle.

Unlike most conventional designs that direct frontal crash energy only to the lower load-bearing structures in the front end, the ACE system actively channels frontal crash energy to both upper and lower structural elements, including the floor frame rails, side sills and A-pillars. By creating specifically engineered "pathways" that help distribute these frontal impact forces through a greater percentage of the vehicle's total structure, the ACE system can more effectively route them around and away from the passenger compartment to help limit cabin deformation and further improve occupant protection. Integral to the ACE concept is its unique front polygonal main design structure.

Inside the Fit EV, the dashboard's lower cross-member has been given a rounded, bow shape to help disperse impact energy absorbed by the front frame rail on the impact side through both floor frame rails including the one on the opposite side. This configuration further improves the efficiency with which the impact of a collision is dispersed and absorbed.

Pedestrian Injury Mitigation Design
The Fit EV has an impact-absorbing front body design to help absorb energy in the event of a frontal collision with a pedestrian. Research by Honda shows that the following features can dramatically improve a pedestrian's chance of survival if struck by a moving vehicle.

Specific pedestrian injury mitigation features include:

  • Impact-energy absorbing hood ­– Space is provided between the underside of the hood and key powertrain components, allowing the hood to bend and deform if contact is made with either an adult or a child pedestrian
  • Deformable hood hinges – The hood hinges are designed to deform easily
  • Energy-absorbing fender mounts and supports – The front fender mounts and brackets are designed to deform easily to help absorb impact energy
  • Deformable windshield wiper pivots – The wiper pivots are designed to deform and break away easily

Battery Crash Safety
The Fit EV’s body layout, packaging and construction are optimized to protect the high-voltage parts within the vehicle in case of a severe crash. For instance, the floor frame and crossmembers form a grid-like compartment to surround and protect the drive battery. Furthermore, the electrical flow is automatically disconnected if a severe crash occurs.

Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with Traction Control
Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) is an Electronic Stability Control system that works in conjunction with the Fit EV’s Drive-by-Wire™ throttle and its 4-channel ABS systems to enhance control capability while the vehicle is accelerating, braking, cornering or when the driver makes a sudden maneuver. VSA functions by applying brake force to one or more wheels independently while also managing the electric motor output to help the vehicle maintain the driver's intended path of travel.

The VSA system constantly analyzes data from six sensors that monitor wheel speed, steering input, lateral G forces and yaw rate. It compares the driver's control inputs with the vehicle's actual response. Whenever the actual response falls outside of a predetermined acceptable range, VSA intervenes with a corrective action. For instance, if VSA detects an oversteer condition, the system may apply braking force to the outside front and rear wheels to counteract the unintended yawing effect. In the event of understeer, VSA may apply braking to the inside rear wheel while reducing motor power to help return the vehicle to its intended course.

VSA also provides a limited-slip differential effect for the front wheels by applying braking force to a slipping wheel, thereby redirecting driving force to the wheel with more traction. VSA is calibrated to function in a near-transparent manner, and in many cases a driver will not even be aware of its operation. However, anytime the system is enhancing vehicle stability, an indicator light flashes in the instrument cluster. While the driver can deactivate the VSA stability enhancement and traction-control functions via a switch on the instrument panel, ABS remains fully operational at all times.

Brake Assist
A function of the VSA system, the Brake Assist feature recognizes emergency braking situations and quickly helps the driver apply added braking force once the driver has initiated braking. This Brake Assist feature is controlled by a special logic in the system that evaluates the pedal application rate and force to recognize a panic-stop situation. At that point, the VSA modulator pump increases braking pressure while the pedal is still being pressed to ensure maximum stopping force, an action that helps shorten braking distance as much as possible.

Advanced 4-Channel ABS with Electronic Brake Distribution
The Fit EV is fitted with hydraulically activated vented front disc and rear drum brakes, along with an electronic regenerative braking system. The ABS system also incorporates Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) circuitry that automatically proportions force based on the vehicle's weight distribution. (See Chassis section for more information.)

Comprehensive Airbag Technology
Already a leader in vehicle safety, Honda continues to implement leading airbag technology throughout the product lineup. Dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags, front side airbags with passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS) and side-curtain airbags are standard equipment on the 2013 Fit EV.

Dual-stage, Multiple-Threshold Front Airbags
Both the driver and front passenger front airbags (SRS) incorporate dual-stage and multiple-threshold activation technology. One or both of these airbags will be deployed only in the event of a sufficient frontal impact. If deployed, these airbags are designed to optimize the deployment rate to match the severity of a crash event, seatbelt usage and/or other factors. Like other Honda vehicles, the driver's front airbag is located in the steering wheel while the passenger airbag is located in the top of the dash.

Driver and Front Passenger Side Airbags with Front Passenger Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS)
Driver's and front passenger's side airbags mounted in the outboard area of each front seatback are designed to help provide pelvis and thorax protection in the event of a severe side impact. In addition, the front passenger's seat is equipped with the Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS), an innovative system designed to deactivate the side airbag if a child (or small-stature adult) leans into the side airbag deployment path. When the passenger returns to an upright seating position, the side airbag reactivates so it can deploy to help protect the occupant in a side impact. This unique system utilizes weight sensors and sensors in the passenger seatback to determine the height and position of the occupant, and determine whether to deploy the side airbag.

Side Curtain Airbags
All outboard seating positions include a side curtain airbag system, which is standard equipment. The side curtain airbags deploy from modules in the roof in the event of a sufficient side impact, providing a significant level of head protection in the window area.

Seatbelts
Three-point seatbelts are standard for all seating positions. The front seatbelts are equipped with automatic tensioners to help minimize injury potential in a frontal collision. When an impact occurs, the automatic tensioner tightens the seatbelt (shoulder and lap) to help hold the seat occupant firmly in position. The front seatbelts also feature adjustable-height shoulder anchors. To help increase seat-belt usage, a reminder for the driver and front passenger has been incorporated into the instrument cluster. After starting the vehicle, a weight sensor detects whether the front passenger seat is occupied. If the driver or front passenger has not already fastened the seat belt, an icon in the cluster illuminates and a chime sounds as a reminder to do so.

Active Head Restraints
Both of the Fit EV’s front seats are fitted with an innovative active head restraint designed to help reduce the severity of neck injuries in the event of a rear impact. The head restraint is mechanically connected to a lumbar plate located inside of the seatback via special links. If a rear impact takes place, the seat is accelerated against the occupant's body. This action causes the head restraint to move forward in a carefully prescribed arc, helping to reduce forces that otherwise might impact the neck and musculature during a collision.

Adjustable Head Restraints for All Seating Positions
The front and rear seats feature individually adjustable head restraints for all passenger seating positions. All rear head restraints comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) for rear passenger head restraints that took effect for any all-new 2011-model-year-and-later vehicle. The new rules closely specify the size, position and operation of the rear-seat head restraints.

Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH)
Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) provide a simple and convenient method to install compatible child safety seats in a vehicle. In the Fit EV, the rear outboard seating positions are fitted with dedicated LATCH attachment points. The LATCH system features built-in, ready-to-use anchors and tethers allowing compatible child safety seats to be installed without using the vehicle's seatbelt system. In addition, the rear center seating position features top tether anchors that can be used to secure a single child safety seat. The ability to choose which location works best for individual needs can help families more conveniently maximize interior space.

Safety R&D Facilities
Honda operates two of the world's most sophisticated crash-test laboratories specifically created for the development of improved safety designs and technologies. The Tochigi facility in Japan contains the world's first indoor multi-directional car-to-car crash testing facility and plays a critical role in the development of enhanced designs for occupant safety, pedestrian injury mitigation and vehicle-to-vehicle compatibility. Honda R&D America's development center in Raymond, Ohio performs advanced testing on all North American-developed models. The facility features the world's first pitching test sled, which aids efficiency by enabling economical and speedy crash-test simulations with certain interior safety components, such as seats and seatbelts, prior to conducting a crash test with an actual vehicle. It also features one of the world's highest-resolution impact barriers, which enables precise measurement of the distribution of impact load forces on a vehicle.

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