Whether you're looking to, reduce your carbon footprint or just travel in style, electric vehicles are the way to go. Moreover, switching to EVs is paramount as we move closer to the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars. And yet, there's a lot of misinformation and myths about electric vehicle safety and technology.
At Allstar, we want to ensure that everyone has access to reliable information about EVs so they can feel confident in their transition to electric transportation.
In this article, we'll address some of the most common misconceptions surrounding EV safety, risks, power and performance.
Electric vehicles are safe to drive and manufacturers must meet safety standards before they can be sold. There are many widespread concerns surrounding electric-powered vehicles, but EVs are as safe as any conventional car.
The biggest concern surrounding EV safety is the possibility of their lithium-ion batteries overheating and catching fire. Whist there have been incidents of batteries igniting (such as the Tesla Model S in 2017), it remains true that fire in combustion engines are far more common.
It’s important to note, however, that the disposal of electric vehicles does come with significant health hazards due to the toxic waste they can produce. Therefore, it is vital that EVs are recycled efficiently, utilising specialists methods to recovery batteries and minimise the problems that could arise from improper disposal.
Because of the issues that have previously impacted the safety of these vehicles. EV manufacturers need to work even harder to achieve outstanding crashworthiness - particularly as their battery packs are heavier and they produce more energy during collisions.
As part of making electric cars safe, modern models include multiple airbags, less moving components, various crash sensors and strong structures to ensure the safety of occupants in the event of an accident.
The safety advantage of EVs means that they do not come with the same risks as an internal combustion engine. Some of the safety disadvantages of petrol and diesel cars include:
The exhaust from internal combustion engines contains toxic chemicals, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. These dangerous exhaust fumes can cause serious respiratory illnesses such as asthma attacks, lung cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Most traditional cars do not come with additional safety features that modern EVs implement, such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) which is designed to minimise collisions.
Contrary to popular belief, electric cars are no more prone to fatal accidents or crashes than a regular car. In fact, some models are highly commended for their advanced protection against collisions and injury. Tesla is well known for their strong focus on building vehicles in this way.
Tesla commits itself to record-breaking safety standards, evidencing how EV safety is unquestionable. The company's vehicles have proven to be safer than any other on the road, and they've paved the way for a future where every car is equipped with features that make it easier to avoid accidents and protect people in the event of a crash.
Around the world, Tesla continually proves to be the safest cars on the market as each new model receives groundbreakingly high safety ratings in crash test results.
Moreover, The Euro NCAP crash tests have recently revealed that the new Kia EV6 and Volvo C40 Recharge received full marks.
The tests carried out assess the safety features and ability to protect passengers in a crash. The tests are designed to make sure car manufacturers are designing vehicles that meet European safety standards.
The results of these tests should be reassuring for those looking to buy a new electric vehicle; they show just how much progress has been made in this area.
As part of its crash testing program, the NCAP assesses the following areas:
Protection of adult occupants (both driver and passenger);
Protection of children occupants;
A new Vulnerable Road User (VRU) protection consists of pedestrian protection as well as cyclist protection;
Evaluation of technologies that assist drivers and prevent crashes part of the Safety Assist program.
If we take leading manufacturer in the EV market as an example, Tesla integrates additional safety measures as part of their designs including:
Battery pack: Any Tesla would be incomplete without its innovative battery technology, The battery pack is strategically located to reduce weight as well as rollover risk, in an attempt to ensure it won't be struck during a car accident.
Impact protection: The chassis is protected by Tesla’s patented side structure. Both the passengers and the battery pack are safe because of this.
The importance of this cannot be overstated. A big safety concern about electric cars is their vulnerability to battery packs exploding - Tesla works hard to minimise this risk.
Using a patented chassis side structure, their battery packs are protected from impacts caused by collisions with other vehicles, thereby reducing the safety concerns associated with EVs.
Structural integrity: Their patented side impact protection systems combine with their rigid body structure for maximum safety, Tesla reinforced both the rigid frame and battery pack. It protects against side car collisions or any other cause of harm to the structural beam of a car from the impact of another car. Impact Protect makes sure not only that the battery packs are protected but also that the passengers are kept safe from any damage.
Active safety measures: Tesla’s revolutionary Autopilot technology activates additional safety features that significantly reduces the risk of fatal incidents.
Some model specifications come with:
Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)
AEB uses radar and camera sensors to detect vehicles, pedestrians, and large animals around you while driving. If it detects an object too close to your car, AEB applies the brakes automatically to avoid a collision or minimise damage if one occurs.
Advanced Driver Assistance (ADA)
Advanced Driver Assistance helps steer you back into your lane if you start drifting out of it by applying small corrections to the steering wheel. It does this when lane markings aren't visible or clear enough for the system to identify where your vehicle is headed.
Side Collision Warning (SCW)
Side Collision Warning uses cameras and ultrasonic sensors to detect nearby vehicles in your blind spots as well as vehicles approaching from behind at high speeds. If SCW detects a potentially dangerous situation, it alerts you with audible warnings and visual indicators on your instrument panel so you can take corrective action before an accident occurs.
One of the most common misconceptions surrounding EVs is the risk of fire, particularly in rainy weather or during an accident. But is this true?
The short answer is no. Generally, lithium-ion batteries are dangerous if they are damaged, which can happen when extreme heat is applied to them or something penetrates their walls. While car batteries have historically caused fires and faults, data from 2019 shows that the London Fire Brigade dealt with 54 fires involving electric vehicles compared with 1,898 fires involving petrol and diesel vehicles.
Nevertheless, at the time of writing, recent data surrounding electric vehicles and fire safety is minimal. Extensive tests and research confused by experts shows that the probability of fires from lithium ion batteries in EVs are lower than initially gas-powered models.
Electric vehicles are still susceptible to catching fire the same way petrol and diesel cars are in violent crashes, despite major advancements in vehicle safety.
As a fail-safe feature, Nissan have built circuitry into their batteries that shuts them down when their voltage exceeds a certain level.
The problem EVs have (and the reason they have gained negative media coverage) is that they are potentially harder to extinguish when they do rarely occur. Putting out an EV fire can be incredibly time consuming as lithium ion fires can burn for several days.
Charging an electric vehicle from home overnight is standard practice and is therefore totally safe. Providing that the charging station is installed correctly, this method of charging is both efficient and low risk from danger.
To prevent the battery from being overcharged, electric vehicles have overcharging prevention systems. A typical EV's systems should automatically slow down charging once they detect that the battery is nearing full charge. It uses a technique known as ‘trickle charging’ so that the battery remains fully charged without being overcharged. A dynamic monitoring system onboard then allocates the charge as needed.
Some manufacturers even provide useful apps for drivers to set charging times and obtain visibility of their battery status for peace of mind.
Charging overnight is highly recommended as the most effective way to charge an EV due to the cheaper energy prices, but also to reduce grid load during peak times. Keeping a vehicle plugged in when not in use is one of the best ways to preserve the battery.
One of the main valid safety concerns with EVs is how quiet they are, as this could potentially increase the risk of pedestrian collisions. However, new legislations put in place will look to address this issue, including requiring EVs to emit audible sounds at low speeds because electric vehicles are quieter than their fuel counterparts.
A rise in electric vehicles could be associated with some new risks - but this does not mean that they are any more hazardous or safer than petrol and diesel vehicles. As electric vehicles take over the road in the near future, there is a need for more research into making them as safe as possible.
If your fleet is looking to make the switch to electric vehicles as a safer, cheaper and cleaner alternative, Allstar can help you find a charging solution.
With our large charging network and tailored payment solutions, we can help you save time and money as you switch to electric. Discover how easy it is to use our Allstar One Electric charging card today.