The Shocking Truth: Why Electric Cars Pose Unique Crash Risks

In the last three years the electric car industry has boomed. In 2020, 300,000 electric vehicles (EVs) were sold, and in 2023 over 1.6 million EVs were sold. EVs offer numerous benefits to you, and to our planet, including reduced carbon emissions and lower operating costs. electric cars are destined to become more and more prevalent in our day to day life, so it is important that we understand that there are unique risks when operating an EV compared to a gasoline powered vehicle.

As Utah car accident lawyers we understand how devastating a car accident can be, but getting into a car accident with an electric vehicle presents interesting risks. In this article we will be diving into these aspects, highlighting the differences from gasoline cars and the potential dangers that can arise when an EV gets into an accident.

Structural and Design Differences

Silent Operation:

One of the key features that an electric car offers is its quiet operation. With the lack of an engine, an EV can be practically silent when moving at low speeds. While this is generally seen as an advantage as it makes for a more relaxing ride, it can pose a danger to pedestrians and cyclists who may not hear your vehicle coming. This quiet operation can lead to an increased risk of accidents, especially in urban areas where foot traffic can be especially dense.

The Shocking Truth: Why Electric Cars Pose Unique Crash Risks

Weight Distribution and Impact:

Since electric cars do not have an engine, their weight distribution is much different than a gasoline car. This difference in weight distribution is primarily due to the large heavy battery pack that is mounted low and across the floor of the vehicle. This creates a lower center of gravity for the EV which can help improve stability; however, in an accident, this can result in different impact dynamics. For instance if you got into an accident that affected the undercarriage of your vehicle it might directly impact your battery, leading to much more severe damages than a similar impact would have on a gas powered car.

Regenerative Braking:

To save on battery and boost the vehicle’s range, electric cars typically use regenerative braking systems which change how the car decelerates. This differs from a gas powered car where to slow down you would take your foot off the accelerator and apply pressure to the brake, but with regenerative braking that is not the case. Regenerative brakes apply the breaks the second your foot releases from the accelerator. A driver who is accustomed to traditional braking might find the feel and response to these different systems to be strange, which can potentially lead to an accident if it is not properly understood and adjusted to.

Battery-Related Risks

Fire Hazard:

Electric cars typically use large scale lithium-ion batteries to power the vehicle. These batteries are incredibly energy-dense, and if damaged, can pose a significant fire risk in the event of a crash. Unlike a gas fire, battery fires can be much more challenging to extinguish due to the chemical nature of the battery components. These fires can reignite even after they have been extinguished, requiring specialized knowledge and equipment on how to handle them safely, increasing the danger in an accident dramatically.

Chemical Exposure:

The battery in an electric car can be dangerous. In an accident there is a risk of the battery getting damaged and leaking hazardous chemicals. Being exposed to these chemicals can pose serious potential health risks to the vehicle’s occupants, first responders, as well as anyone nearby. A car accident with an EV needs to be handled properly, and the proper disposal of these materials requires specialized training and equipment.

Electrocution Risk:

The high-voltage systems used in electric vehicles pose a risk of electrocution. In the event of an accident, the risk of electrical shock can be significant for both the vehicle occupants and first responders. Special protocols must be followed to safely disconnect the battery and prevent accidental electrocution.

Legal and Safety Considerations

Safety Regulations:

As electric cars become more popular and adopted on a larger scale, safety regulations are continually evolving to address the unique risks that these vehicles pose. It is crucial as the driver of an EV to stay informed about these regulations, and keep your eyes out on any changes or regulations that you may need to adopt.

Manufacturer Responsibilities:

Manufacturers of electric vehicles have a responsibility to design and produce vehicles that meet stringent safety standards. This includes ensuring that batteries are adequately protected, providing clear instructions for emergency responders, and equipping vehicles with safety features to mitigate the risks associated with silent operation and unique braking systems.

Driver Education:

As a driver of an electric vehicle you should receive proper education and training on the specific quirks and characteristics of your vehicle. This means you should try to learn the basics of the differences in handling, braking, and the potential dangers that can arise if you are involved in an accident.

Electric cars are only going to become more popular, which makes it so important that we all understand the risks and unique challenges that an accident involving an electric car presents. The design of these vehicles, along with the inherent dangers of high voltage battery systems, requires special consideration and preparedness.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with an electric car, it is important to seek out the best car accident lawyer in Utah to discuss your options. At LifeLaw Personal Injury our team of Utah car accident lawyers understand the complexities of electric car accidents, and will work tirelessly to get the compensation that you deserve. If you have been hurt by the negligence of someone else, let the car accident lawyers at LifeLaw fight for you! Contact us today for a free consultation, and to discuss your options.