Are Electric Vehicles Safer Than Gas Vehicles?

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Ever since Tesla released its first electric vehicle (EV) in 2008, there’s been a growing debate over the safety of EVs vs. traditional gas-powered cars. 

Now that other car manufacturers (like GM, Volvo, Chevrolet, Nissan, Volkswagen, BMW, and others) have jumped on the EV bandwagon and new EV models are hitting the market all the time, EV safety concerns are as prevalent as ever. 

After a car accident, an experienced auto accident attorney can help ensure you get the best insurance payout and legal settlement. But what if the damage and injury done to you is made worse because of the type of car?

To answer this question, researchers spend a lot of time testing vehicles in simulated side, front, and rear impact collisions to see how well they do in protecting drivers and passengers inside. 

In this article, we’ll go over what the research shows and try to settle the question of which car type is safer. 

Let’s get started!

Safety of gas-powered cars

Cars are inherently dangerous. We sometimes forget this since cars are so commonplace, but their size, weight, speed, and momentum coupled with the fact that they carry tanks full of gas, make driving them a risky endeavor. You’re basically putting yourself inside a steel container that could catch fire with enough impact.

That said, car manufacturers have come a long way in minimizing the risk of cars catching fire or exploding. Today’s cars have numerous safety features that prevent them from catching fire in all but the rarest of incidents. 

Safety of electric cars

So how do electric cars compare? On the one hand, electric vehicles don’t have gas tanks. That’s a huge plus. On the other hand, they carry lithium-ion batteries (aka: li-ion batteries). 

Li-ion batteries are a type of rechargeable battery that are highly efficient and can store a high density of energy. That’s why they are used in EVs.

But li-ion batteries are also highly flammable. They can short circuit and overheat, which can cause them to catch fire in a thermal reaction known as “thermal runaway.” The same can happen to laptops, cell phones, and many other electronic devices.

To minimize this risk, EV manufacturers have developed innovative safety mechanisms. For example, EV li-ion batteries are often surrounded by a protective cooling shroud filled with chilled liquid coolant. 

In addition, many EV li-ion batteries are installed in array format with firewalls between each cluster to limit the damage even if the battery does overheat. Tesla puts external aluminium plates around their EV batteries to provide an extra layer of protection between the battery and the passenger compartment, and Volvo designs its EVs with the li-ion battery placed far away from the car’s collapsible front.

Overall, there’s always a risk of an EV catching fire, but it’s pretty small and when it happens, the fire tends to spread less quickly than it would in a gasoline-powered car. 

The final verdict

Now that you know a bit more about how EVs work, you’re better equipped to make a choice between them and regular cars. The risk of your car catching fire with either is minimal.

On another note, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the risk of a car accident overall for electric vehicles is slightly lower. However, the cost of EV repairs and part replacements is higher. 

Ultimately, the choice is yours. Electric cars tend to be slightly safer, have lower fuel costs, and help the environment. But they also tend to be more expensive. Do what feels right for you.

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