In regards to the safety of EVs vs internal combustion engines, EVs have been found to be just as safe as combustion engines.
This is due to all road-worthy vehicles having to go through the same safety requirements and tests, along with this EVs have to also go through a number of additional tests to ensure no battery damage or leakage occurs in the case of an impact.
Compared to gasoline-powered vehicles, EVs have a decreased danger of fire and explosion. Due to their lack of emissions and fewer moving components, EVs are a better solution for improving air quality.
The fact that electric vehicles are silent can put pedestrians and blind people at a slightly higher risk. However, this problem can and has been resolved by making electric vehicles (EVs) audible at slower speeds.
Are EVs safe?
You might have considered converting to an EV if you have a petrol-guzzling vehicle. What is holding you back? Is it thinking that electric vehicles are not safe?
For a car to be road legal, it must undergo various tests ensuring that the vehicle is safe to the people in the vehicle and the people surrounding it. These tests and safety precautions are set by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program, which specialises in the crashing of new vehicles in Australia. Independent international organisations also conduct rigorous safety tests on EVs. These organisations include the European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Along with this regulation of road safety testing, electric vehicles, in particular, have other specific standards they must meet. This helps monitor and assess that there are no spillages in battery content, risk of battery fires or risk of electrical shock.
Like all modern cars, electric vehicles have all the modern driver and safety assist technology available. This includes automatic emergency braking, the old favourite – cruise control, distance sensors, onboard cameras galore, lane assist technology, and some even have automated driving.
In general crash and other car-related tests, electric vehicles have been proven over the past decade to be just as safe as any other petrol vehicle. However, are there any aspects in which electric vehicles are safer?
In a battery-operated vehicle, the lithium-ion battery is the power source. Lithium-ion batteries, although powerful, have been known in older batteries or cheaper models e.g. E-scooters, to have caused explosions and fires due to their short-circuiting.
To counteract this, manufacturers have designed multiple fail safes. These include battery management systems within the battery and cell to switch off if they get over a specific temperature. Most EVs designed from the ground up also have batteries designed and built into the lower frame of the chassis. This is called the skateboard platform, which makes them highly safe within an accident outside of the crumple zones of an accident.
Should you be worried about your EV lighting up and causing a fire? Compared to gasoline-powered vehicles, EVs are at a lot lower risk of fire explosion due to their specific safety precautions. EVs benefit more from not having stored petrol. In the case of a severe accident, the petrol can catch fire and put everyone inside and near the vehicle at significant risk.
An EV, in comparison to an internal combustion engine, requires a lot less maintenance due to there being a lot fewer moving parts. There are an average of 20 moving components in an EV, while 2000 in an internal combustion engine. In saying this, both vehicles require maintenance; an EV’s frequency is just a lot less than that of a petrol vehicle.
Regarding air quality and carbon emissions, EVs are the clear winner. This is solely because they produce no emissions, leaving no by-products from their engine. An internal combustion engine functions through the compression and burning of petrol to fuel a car’s drive; as a by-product, it will release a range of emissions. These polluting gases can harm the environment but can also harm humans and animals, increasing the chances of illness and diseases, such as asthma.
Crashworthiness is the ability of a vehicle to protect passengers during a collision. The design of EVs allows for the effective distribution of crash forces to protect the passengers.
This is because the position of the heavy battery packs at the bottom lowers the vehicle’s centre of gravity- minimising the chance of a rollover. Not having an internal combustion engine improves front-end crumple zones and passenger safety as well.
Is there anything that is not safe in regard to Electric Vehicles?
The main concern for EVs is that they are silent. Generally, this is seen as an advantage towards EVs, especially by residents living near noisy highways. However, it does come with some flaws. Since EVs only have one gear and no combustion engine, they are pretty much silent when driving. This poses a significant risk to pedestrians, especially vision-impaired ones, who may not hear the approaching vehicle.
Fortunately, authorities have now resolved this issue by mandating that EVs must produce audible sounds, even at lower speeds.
So what’s the verdict – Are Electric Vehicles safe?
Electric vehicles undergo similar safety tests as traditional petrol vehicles, making them equally safe regarding regulatory standards and crashworthiness. Some electric vehicles on the market even have a 5-star safety rating, outperforming their petrol rivals. The Audi e-tron and the Tesla Model 3 are two EVs with a 5-star safety rating.
So as a final verdict – electric vehicles are safe, and as they have all the latest sensor technology included, one could even claim – that they are safer than many of the petrol cars on our roads right now.