In the past couple of years, multiple factors have led to thousands of new models being introduced within the electric vehicles industry. However, the two major factors include the prices constantly dropping for electric vehicles, followed by technological improvements and advancements in battery power and battery life.
According to at least one highly rated Los Angeles car accident attorney, Los Angeles has seen its fair share of electric vehicle problems. The government sources corroborate that California itself is leading the charge for Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV.) Many problems with these new vehicles besides driverless collision technology and the battery array are rearing, with some stories of people being burned alive due to bad batteries that catch fire.
Electric Vehicle Manufacturers Keep Growing
Many companies have followed the same path as Tesla over time, launching their own all-electric cars. The most prominent companies now manufacturing all-electric cars from Tesla include BMW, Volkswagen, Nissan, and Chevrolet.
Due to these companies, the options for drivers have been broadened tremendously. The companies have helped to broaden the price point, performance specs, and body styles of all-electric vehicles.
Electric Cars Continue Giving Tough Competition to Traditional Cars
In recent years, a great shift has been observed in people who have changed their preference from traditional gasoline-powered vehicles to all-electric cars. This has increased the competition between electric cars and traditional gasoline-powered vehicles.
While these companies keep undergoing advances and improvements, the insurance companies and auto manufacturers continue criticizing how these advances and improvements would work out against collisions with better fire protection and other safety features in the passenger compartment where many a fire occurs due to a faulty power source.
It is important to examine and go through the key points regarding electric cars and their safety, including external cooling and crash test methodology. This way, separating the facts from the rumors would be possible for passengers and drivers.
How a Vehicle’s Safety is measured
There are a number of checks taken into consideration when assessing the safety of any vehicle. However, such assessment boils down to the type and number of injuries sustained when a crash takes place.
It was back in 2013 when Tesla made it to the news after three of its Model S electric cars ended up catching fire. Just as the incidents regarding the vehicle fires took place, the press and critics quickly jumped to the conclusion of making claims against electric vehicles.
The press and critics kept pointing fingers against the making of every electric car claiming they are unsafe and combustible.
Actual Reasons behind Electric Car Fires
While criticism was being raised against the electric vehicles, the investigation teams continued with their investigations on the matter. As the data surrounding the crash of each electric car was assessed, it was established that it was due to the roadway debris every car had ended up catching fire.
The report surrounding each vehicle confirmed that in each instance, it was the driver who ran over the roadway debris. As a result, the battery cells of each electric car ended up taking damage. Despite the damaged battery cells that caused the vehicles to catch fire, no injuries were caused due to the accidents.
An investigation by the NHTSA
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also carried out the same investigation on particular electric vehicles. The conclusion of their investigation also confirmed the same.
They even added that if the vehicle had been without a protective covering of the aluminum plate on the battery cells, the damage could have been catastrophic. Without the protection, the occupants in the vehicle would have either suffered severe injuries or even end up getting killed.
The reason behind such an accident could have been the floorboard of the car that could have ended up getting pierced due to the debris.
The most important measure of a vehicle’s safety level is to assess passenger safety as a result of impact collisions. The important measures of vehicle safety help assess how well an electric vehicle would protect the occupants from rear impact, front impact, and side-impact collisions.
Tests by NHTSA on Electric Cars and Gasoline-Powered Cars
The NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) carried out crash tests on the Model S electric cars. Their results confirmed that the side-impact collisions they recorded for the electric vehicle were similar to the impact they had recorded for the gasoline-powered vehicle.
In terms of the near-impact and front-impact crashes, the Model S electric vehicle performed even better than the gasoline-powered vehicle. The data and the tests show that the claims about the Model S electric vehicle being unsafe were not valid at all.
Concerns Surrounding Flammability
It is to be kept in mind that the source of power for all-electric vehicles is Lithium-ion batteries. The li-ion batteries in electric cars have the tendency to catch fire. The main source of energy storage in Lithium-ion batteries is a liquid electrolyte.
If a liquid electrolyte is exposed to unfavorable conditions and remains there for a prolonged interval, it can catch fire due to overheating.
If these power cells get damaged, they may end up short-circuiting. Such short-circuiting incidents can cause fires causing a lot of damage if they are in a place where there is no proper fire safety protocols place.
Electric Vehicles are Less Flammable
When comparing fuel-powered vehicles with electric vehicles, it becomes clear that traditional cars have a higher tendency to catch fire versus an electric vehicle that has a Lithium-ion battery. The risk of the Lithium-ion battery becoming flammable compared to a fuel engine is much lower.
This is why the number of crashes involving electric vehicles is much lower than traditional cars. The tests have also shown that in the case where the li-ion batteries did result in causing a fire in a vehicle, it was limited only to the area where the battery was situated. It could be extinguished with small effort.
Cars with Internal Combustion Engines are Highly Flammable
However, when it comes to the gasoline and diesel engines, the fire would spread to other parts of the car due to damaged-fuel delivery components or spilled gasoline. The situation could worsen compared to an electric vehicle before the fire can be contained.
Therefore, the safety concerns in electric vehicles are less than the traditional ones, making electric cars safe and lower risk.
Although the cases of a fire occurring in any Tesla model or other electric vehicles are very few, whenever such an incident occurs, people blame it on the short-circuits in the all-electric or hybrid vehicles.
However, most of the time, fire incidents occur due to the devices that people use and connect to the li-ion batteries of the car.
Laptops and Smartphones are the Culprits
Most of the time, the batteries of smartphones and laptops end up burning, causing a fire and vehicle accidents. It is due to the “thermal runaway” nature of the li-ion batteries that can react to the external heat or short-circuits coming from smartphones or laptops to cause combustion.
Multiple tests and experiments have been conducted to deal with the thermal runaway situation. To deal with the problem, the batteries are surrounded by a protective cooling shroud filled on all sides to cover the batteries accompanied by chilled liquid coolant.
This feature makes electric vehicles much safer than conventional vehicles.
Electric Cars are not Flawless
Although electric cars have proven to be much safer than traditional ones, it doesn’t mean they are without flaws.
Electric cars have many other problems that include a faulty touch screen, malfunctioned or removed speed limiters, failed automatic mechanism of doors, auto-pilot accidents, mechanical/structural issues, and so much more. Still, electric car manufacturers claim that all their vehicles are safe and without any errors.