The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has a long track record of selecting the safest cars on the road. And, for 2018, only 15 vehicles earned their TOP SAFETY PICK PLUS award.

That status is now tougher than ever to achieve. For the first time, the IIHS has added front passenger-side crash ratings to the criteria. Top rating also requires a “good” headlight rating to make the prestigious list. Hyundai and Subaru had the most vehicles recognized across the categories. However, researchers point out among all the brands, in most cases it was “optional” equipment that gave winners the edge. 47 other vehicles qualified for Top Safety Pick status.

Meanwhile, a Swedish manufacturer, is fueling the pursuit of electric powered performance through its new Polestar brand.  

For two decades Volvo’s in-house tuner partner, Polestar, will now focus solely on high performance electrified models. A new Polestar plant is being built in China that will include a customer test track. Their first model, the Polestar 1 is a four-seat Grand Touring Coupé with a combined 600-hp Electric Performance Hybrid powertrain. A Volvo Drive-E 2-litre 4-cylinder gas engine will power the front wheels, while two electric motors propel the rear wheels. The electric only range is expected to exceed 90 miles, more than any other plug-in hybrid to date. Polestar says all their future cars, among them a mid-size sedan and SUV, will be fully electric powered, going head to head with Tesla. Production of the Polestar 1 will start in 2019.

Meanwhile closer to home, Volvo expects to sell thousands of SUVs to ride sharing company Uber. The deal involves Volvo’s soon-to-be American made XC90 crossover. Uber will add its own self-driving technology. At the same time, Volvo will continue to develop their own autonomous car system, with a production model on the road in 2021. That’s the latest for this week’s Motor News.