Last Updated on July 20, 2023
Transportation as we know it is changing. Electric vehicles (EVs), which run on just electricity, are growing in popularity as a counterpart to gas-powered cars. But with every new invention comes a degree of concern for safety.
It stands to reason that people wonder are electric cars safer than gas cars?
Electric cars on average are safer to drive and ride in than gas-powered cars. In fact, NHTSA has reported the likelihood of injury in crashes involving EV’s is lower than those with gasoline and diesel engines. This is due to their high collision test safety scores, better torque vectoring, less maintenance requirements, and less flammability.
Over the years, there has been a lot of unease surrounding whether electric vehicles are safe or not. In fact, a lot of the backlash against EVs has been entirely unfounded.
Let’s take a deeper look into why electric cars are safer than gas-powered cars.
Why Are Electric Cars Safer Than Gas Cars?
One of the main reasons that electric cars are safer than gas cars is that they often perform better in collision tests. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has deduced that injuries are less likely to occur with EVs.
If that’s not enough to convince you, consider that the 2021 Volvo XC40, Tesla Model 3, Audi e-tron, and e-tron Sportback won the top safety picks of 2021.
Overall, the IIHS reports that the accident rate was 40% lower with an EV. One reason for this is, electric cars utilize torque vectoring due to their multiple electric motors. Torque vectoring allows for more control in dangerous situations such as a slippery roads, reducing the risk of accidents. The combination of torque vectoring and a modern braking system helps the driver stop quickly in high-pressure situations.
The EV’s other key safety advantage is its lack of gasoline. You don’t have a highly volatile liquid onboard, which can quickly escape during an accident and become a fire hazard.
Lastly, electric vehicles are generally safer than gas cars because they require much less maintenance. It makes sense, as a car that’s operating at proper specifications is much safer than a car in need of servicing.
Since an EV motor requires little to no servicing in its lifetime, it has a clear advantage when it comes to overall safety compared to an gas powered vehicle.
Electric Cars Perform Better in Collision Tests
One of the great things about most electric vehicles is that they perform well in collision and safety tests. Indeed, collision test performance may be the single biggest reason electric cars are safer than gas cars.
The Tesla Model S, for example, was given the best safety ratings in crash tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration due to the protective aluminum plating as well as fire safeguards to protect passengers.
A low center of gravity also helps reduce the risk of the car rolling or flipping upon impact, and the frontal crumple zone helps reduce the risk of injury in head-on collisions. Indeed, many independent safety agencies rate electric vehicles as extremely safe when it comes to frontal impacts.
Also a contributing factor to safety is that an EVs batteries are located low in the vehicle, dropping the center of gravity. Combine that with the overall weight of an EV, which helps with the center of gravity, reducing rollovers and other dangerous injuries.
In fact, Tesla reports that for the Model S, the rollover risk is rated at a mere 5.7% and didn’t roll over by conventional means.
Electric Cars Are Less Flammable Than Gas Cars
We’ve all heard that same horror story about electric vehicles bursting into flames, and while it is true that the lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles are flammable, electric vehicles are actually less flammable than gas cars.
The batteries will only lead to fire in very specific circumstances―whether exposed to unfavorable conditions for a long time or damaged―and there are also additional safeguards in place to protect the passengers.
The Science Time reports that per every 100 million lithium-ion batteries on the market, only one fire will occur. It is worth noting that electrical fires are extremely dangerous. In addition, be aware that only fully electric vehicles are considered the least flammable cars.
Hybrid vehicles, on the other hand, actually have the highest fire risk. With electric vehicles so highly rated in fire safety, the only conceivable way an EV will catch fire is if the battery pack gets damaged or was manufactured improperly.
As a whole, EVs seem to get a bad rep when it comes to safety, but as this post demonstrates, electric vehicles are widely considered some of the safest vehicles on the market.
With their low center of gravity, increased weight, torque vectoring, and extensive safety measures, electric vehicles perform exceptionally well in collision tests, and being extremely unlikely to rollover in most accident scenarios.
Moreover, electric vehicles offer an advantage in regenerative braking, which helps the user maintain more traction and brake rapidly if needed.
Not having to maintain an electric vehicle as often as an internal combustion engine vehicle is another significant factor contributing to the EVs successful record of safety. Lastly, contrary to popular belief, EVs are actually the least flammable cars on the market.
EVs have come a long way since their conception, and we can only expect them to become even safer as car manufacturers look for ways to improve their track record.