G-Wiz crash test image

Though exempt from formal crash test standards in most countries, vehicles like the electric, Indian-built Reva – sold in England as the G-Wiz – have occasionally been subjected to informal tests, and the results have raised eyebrows. Years ago, Top Gear subjected a G-Wiz to EuroNCAP crash tests to see how it would hold up. The vehicle struck a barrier at 40 miles per hour and, well, let's just say the G-Wiz nearly vanished.

That makes for interesting TV, but the safety issues are real. A leading British academic, Dr. Judit Nadal, 47, sadly lost her life shortly after her blue G-Wiz collided with a Skoda Octavia in November of 2010. The G-Wiz was reportedly torn in two on the A41 Hendon Way that links London to Birkenhead.

Now, circumstances leading up to the accident have been revealed and, even though it's still easy to question the G-Wiz's safety, the fatal crash was apparently caused by driver error. The London Evening Standard reports Dr. Nadal had been on the phone with her husband seconds before the impact. Just moments before the fatal crash, Dr. Nadal told her husband, "I think I have made a mistake," as she whizzed out in front of the Skoda.

Though the police investigation found the G-Wiz provided almost no protection in the accident, Dr. Nadal's decision not to fasten her seatbelt because she found it to be uncomfortable, means she'd likely of had only a slight chance of surviving the crash even if the G-Wiz had been developed to meet crash test standards. Dr. Nadal's husband told the London Evening Standard that his final words to his wife were, "Get off the phone and concentrate." Let this be a lesson to all.