Electric vehicles are on the rise. That is a good thing because they pollute less than gasoline-powered ones. They are also quieter, reducing noise pollution, although it can make it harder for others to hear them approaching, which could affect safety.
But what about crash safety? Is there any difference between crashing in an electric vehicle as opposed to in a gasoline-powered one?
It seems that there is
Researchers at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) decided to look closer. So far, they have been focusing on ensuring their testing equipment is up to the job. To simulate a crash, they tow (rather than drive) a car into the test barrier. They were unsure if their current cable system would be able to tow these heavier vehicles up to speed in the limited distance available. It turns out it can.
Electric cars weigh much more than their fossil fuel equivalents due to the heavy batteries they require. As the impact in a crash can be calculated by mass times acceleration, heavier cars (cars with a greater mass) will increase the force experienced by whatever they hit.
Earlier studies suggested that electric vehicles are actually 40% safer for their occupants. Again that is likely because they weigh more than the other vehicle. It’s similar to how truck drivers may survive a crash that devastates a car and kills its occupants. The person in the heaviest vehicle typically comes off better. Car manufacturers are aware of this and are looking at ways to protect occupants of smaller vehicles in a crash with a larger one.
If another driver injures you in a car crash, seek legal help to understand what you need to do next.