What makes EVs so safe? This article will explore the differences between EVs and fuel-powered vehicles.
Have you been searching for reasons to purchase an electric vehicle? While switching from gas to electric power for your vehicle has positive environmental benefits, there are more factors to consider, such as safety. Research is showing that EVs are as safe, if not safer, than fuel-powered vehicles. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has noted that the list of EV vehicles added to their Safety Pick of the year is growing.
But, what makes EVs so safe? This article will explore the differences between EVs and fuel-powered vehicles.
Safety benefits of an EV
As vehicle engineering continues to improve, so do the safety benefits of driving an EV. IIHS President David Harkey said in an April 2021 interview that the safety results of recent EV safety tests are encouraging. Not only are these vehicles better for the environment, but Americans don’t need to compromise their safety when they decide to switch.
Here are a few reasons why this may be true:
The rate of injury is lower
The IIHS highlights that the rate of injury claims for passenger and pedestrian collisions when driving an EV is 40% lower than fuel-powered vehicles. They equate the weight of EVs to this uptick in safety. Heavier vehicles are exposed to lower forces when impacting with a lighter vehicle, making an injury less likely after an accident.
Lithium-ion batteries (the technology that powers EVs) are indeed flammable but are not as dangerous as gasoline. According to Steer EV, lithium-ion batteries are less likely to catch fire than gasoline. They note that phones, computers and everyday batteries share the same compound of lithium-ion and pose the same minimal threat of combustion as EVs.
EVs are getting louder
The sound of engines revving and machines moving the vehicle forward are phasing themselves out. EVs are significantly quieter — if they produce any sound at all — depending on how fast the vehicle is going. While this may sound like a benefit, this can be very dangerous for the visually impaired or distracted pedestrians on the road, according to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In response, the NHTSA has imposed a minimum sound requirement for EVs that will alert nearby pedestrians. The U.S., the U.K. and now Canada have imposed changes to their road safety policy to have every EV fitted with a noise emitter, which plays sound from the vehicle based on speed at the same frequency as fuel-powered vehicles.