An electric car plugged into a charging station with a traffic cone placed nearby.

Electric vehicles (EVs) have surged in popularity as consumers seek more sustainable transportation options. As more EVs hit the roads, questions about their safety in accidents have become increasingly relevant. While EVs offer some meaningful safety advantages, they also present unique hazards.  

EV sales have grown significantly over recent years, with projections indicating continued upward trends, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). With this increase, EV crashes have also risen. Studies from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reveal that EVs generally perform well in crash tests, often receiving high safety ratings. However, they also present certain risks that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chair said “absolutely could” lead to more traffic fatalities. Let’s explore the reasons for that concern.  

Core Differences Between EVs and Conventional Vehicles 

Electric vehicles and conventional gas-powered vehicles differ significantly in several key aspects: 

  • Power sources – EVs are powered by electric motors that run on batteries, whereas conventional vehicles use internal combustion engines running on gasoline or diesel fuel.
  • Fuel storage – EVs utilize lithium-ion batteries stored under the vehicle floor, while conventional vehicles have fuel tanks.
  • Vehicle weight – EVs tend to be heavier due to their battery packs, while conventional vehicles are typically lighter.

Potential Dangers with Electric Cars 

Lithium-ion battery pack integrity and fire risk in a collision are common safety concerns with EVs. While battery fires are a genuine safety concern, an NTSB and BTS study found that electric cars have fewer fires than gas-powered cars. While damage to EV batteries can lead to thermal runaway and catch fire, traditional cars can leak flammable gasoline that can explode when sparked. 

The quiet operation of EVs at low speeds poses a risk to pedestrians who rely on engine noise to warn them of oncoming traffic. Recently, regulations were enacted requiring all hybrids and electric vehicles to emit a pedestrian warning noise when moving under 20 mph to alert nearby people. These low-speed running noises are also designed to protect wildlife. 

Another concern involves the fact that EVs weigh about 25 percent more than similarly sized traditional vehicles. Their increased weight can also cause more damage in collisions with lighter vehicles, whereas conventional gasoline-powered vehicles, generally less heavy, have different crash dynamics. 

High-voltage components in EVs can be dangerous for first responders if not correctly managed, unlike conventional vehicles’ less complex electrical systems, which still pose risks with fuel lines and batteries. 

Additionally, electric vehicles’ instant torque and rapid acceleration compared to gas-powered cars can increase the chances of single-vehicle accidents, especially for inexperienced drivers. Researchers call this the “overtapping effect.” 

Get Help from Our South Carolina Electric Car Accident Attorneys 

If you’ve been hurt in an electric vehicle accident, the experienced South Carolina electric car accident attorneys at Jebaily Law Firm are here to help. For more than 50 years, we have helped South Carolina personal injury victims get back on their feet, and we are committed to staying informed about the latest dangers our friends and neighbors face on the road. 

Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us help you demand the compensation you deserve.

George Jebaily

George D. Jebaily, Managing Partner, is the lead attorney for the Personal Injury Team at Jebaily Law Firm, and in 2014 was elected as an at–large member of Florence City Council.