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Are Electric Vehicles More Dangerous in a Crash?

Posted on January 11, 2024

Vehicles operated solely on electric power are becoming more and more common. Vehicle manufacturers are shifting more towards electric vehicle production, with some estimates forecasting that 40% of all passenger car sales in the US could be electric vehicles by 2030.

But, there persists an idea that electric vehicles are more dangerous in a crash than regular vehicles. Is this true? We wanted to explore this question of electric vehicle safety, particularly as the total number of these vehicles on the roadway increases rapidly by the day. If you were injured by an electric vehicle, a Chicago car accident attorney can examine the facts of your case and walk you through the best options moving forward for your situation.

A Junkyard Fire – Indicative of Bigger Problems

EV fires, particularly those involving Tesla vehicles, have made the news plenty of times over the last few years. You have probably seen some of the new stories. Perhaps you saw a story about a Tesla catching fire and then giving firefighters a hard time at the scene of the incident.

A notable incident involving a Tesla Model S highlights the potential dangers of EVs in crashes. The car, sitting in a junkyard after a collision, spontaneously caught fire due to its lithium-ion battery. This event underscores the inherent risks associated with these batteries, known for their high energy density and volatility. Firefighters faced a challenging scenario as the battery reignited multiple times, requiring extensive efforts to extinguish the fire.

This is a not uncommon story you likely have seen about electric vehicles. But is the hype about the dangers misleading?

Electric Vehicle Safety

Lithium-ion batteries pack massive amounts of energy into small batteries, and when these batteries catch on fire, they are harder to put out. However, electric vehicle makers have created safety protocols and installed various sensors, fuses, and circuit Breakers to disconnect batteries when a collision occurs. These batteries are also kept cool by circulating coolant.

However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducted safety studies comparing traditional internal combustion vehicles to electric vehicles, including analyzing collision impact results. The studies found that electric vehicles performed just as well as comparable internal combustion models and even earned key safety awards. In fact, information provided by the Highway Loss Data Institute states that collisions involving electric vehicles result in fewer injury claims, with supplemental data showing that the additional weight of the vehicle batteries actually absorbs much of the impact of the crash.

The Dangers Still Persist

The reality is that any type of vehicle can become dangerous, whether there has been a collision or not. Vehicle fires happened long before electric vehicles hit the roadways, but electric vehicles do pose entirely new challenges. However, new challenges do not mean “more dangerous.”

If you have been involved in a vehicle accident with an electric vehicle or have been affected by specific factors that could only affect those involved in electric vehicle incidents, we encourage you to contact an attorney today. These claims can be challenging and often cross the bridge between car accident cases and defective product claims. The injury attorneys at Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman are on your side.