How Safe are Electric Cars?

 You can rule the road riding these cars, and that too without burning gas, petrol or diesel!

Here, we are talking about the potential of electric/hybrid (XeVs) cars, which have emerged as the next best option considering how fast the global fuel reserves are exhausting.

Also, using electric cars would not leave a trail of carbon footprints due to their zero carbon emission. It means there will be no messing up with the ecological balance.

Many countries worldwide are backing electric car projects and providing subsidies to both manufacturers and customers.  

Moving towards electric vehicles may prove to be a revolutionary step for saving energy and pollution, but it still raises concerns about safety.

How Safe are Electric Cars in Reality?

When the whole world is gearing up for electric cars, one question that crops up frequently is “How safe are these cars?”

This concern is not just from the point of view of engineering and safety features, but also the concerns like theft or burglary.

Here are the safety concerns:

Safety Concerns for Electrical Systems and Batteries

Electric cars come with high-voltage electrical systems and flammable lithium-ion batteries, which are a cause for concern. 

A few instances of battery flaming or shortage in the recent past have made people more apprehensive. For example, shortage of the semiconductor chips in Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV forced General Motors to recall these models.

Similarly, Hyundai recalled nearly 90,000 units of its Kona electric vehicle for the same issue. These recalls have cost the manufacturers heavily. 

General Motors incurred around $1.8 billion for Chevrolet Bolt alone. Recalling Kona EV cost Hyundai nearly $900 million.

To avoid the battery flaming issue, owners can use a shutdown separator, which separates the two vulnerable parts of the electric battery and still allows the charging to happen. Another option is looking for non-inflammable batteries.

Safety Concern in Accidents

Another serious safety concern is accidents. Many people still talk about the Tesla car crash in April 2021 killing two people in the passenger seats. 

In another incident, a Tesla Model 3 EV at a high speed crashed into an Ohio convention centre. Fortunately, no one was injured. 

Tesla Model 3 EV (Source: US News)

Instances like these made EV manufacturers nearly obsessive about making their EVs perfect, and the results have so far been impressive. Most companies are getting their vehicles reviewed through the Euro NCAP assessment.

These days, the robust structures of EVs, multiple airbags, and extensive crumple zones ensure that drivers and passengers get all the protection they need in case of an accident. 

Safety Concerns for Pedestrians & Cyclists

Not just EV drivers and passengers, who have safety concerns, but many pedestrians and cyclists are also worried. 

Considering this issue, on July 1, 2019, it became a legal mandate for all new EVs to have an electronic noise emitter. Usually, most vehicles come with two devices mounted behind the front and rear bumpers, which make sound almost at the same frequency as an internal combustion engine. 

A noise emitter can alert pedestrians and cyclists when EVs run so that they keep a safe distance. 

Safety Concerns Regarding Charger Thefts

A video surfaced in 2021 and went viral. It was about how a woman stole an EV charging cable at a charging station.

The video shows a Tesla EV charging at the station when a woman appeared and stole it. The Tesla Sentry Mode captured those moments. Sentry Mode turns Tesla’s integrated cameras into an alarm system to prevent car theft. 

In other instances, videos show that people are disconnecting the charger from an actively charging car. Incidents like these triggered discussions on why EV drivers should have a little EV etiquette.

Also, in different parts of the world including the US and UK, electric car owners are falling prey to a new crime where thieves are stealing their charging cables.

For example, the UK has nearly 42,000 external charging stations countrywide. The cables are installed at the dedicated charging sites, petrol stations, or on residential streets. Usually, EV owners keep the cables in the car boot. 

After stealing, the criminals are either selling the copper in charging cables as scrap or just selling the cables on the second-hand market. 

Thieves either steal the cables from the boot or remove them from the charging points if a car is left unattended. 

With more and more countries banning petrol and diesel-only cars, criminals are likely to target electric vehicles. Stealing EV cables is easy money for organised gangs.

To prevent stealing, authorities advise electric vehicle owners to be extra careful. When charging their cars at a public charging station, the owners should stay close to their cars rather than wander away. 

Closing Words

Despite all the safety concerns listed above, electric cars are going to be the future of the global automobile industry. A 2021 report by McKinsey & Co. states that EVs will make up 75 percent of car sales worldwide by 2030. 

Such a remarkable growth rate will provide more opportunities to car makers to address the current safety concerns with better integrations of technology.