Are Electric Trucks Safe?

Are EVs Safe? More and more manufacturers are developing electric cars and trucks. The driving force behind the development is the thinking that electric vehicles help the environment by reducing or eliminating the need for fossil fuels. This is why Washington State adopted the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Program and Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) Rule last November for trucks, buses, vans, and passenger vehicles.

While this shift may have merit, the building of electric trucks raises safety issues. Some advocates state that electric trucks are safer than non-electric trucks. Other advocates think they are many dangers that need to be surmounted before electric trucks become the norm.

Why EVs may actually be deadlier than other vehicles

According to Bloomberg, while electric trucks may curb emissions, they increase the risk of traffic fatalities. Bloomberg reported in October 2021 that electric the current White House proposed a non-binding federal mandate that half the vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2030 should be electric. Many vehicle manufactures are focusing on electric vehicles too. Tesla is building a line of electric vehicles and trucks. The GMC Hummer EV and the Ford-150 are two of the new lines of electric trucks.

The biggest danger that Bloomberg cites is that the benefits of electric vehicles are leading manufacturers to make bigger “tougher” cars to compensate for the functionality of electric vehicles. As SUVs and light trucks become more attractive because of their cleaner energy, they are also likely to cause more deaths because of their size, weight, blind spots, and other dangers.

Bloomberg states that 1.35 million people die in traffic crashes each year, including 40,000 in the United States. While technology has gotten smaller for most products, many SUVs and light trucks are so big that they’re being compared in size to World War II tanks. The average weight of vehicles involved in deadly crashes has increased 11% between 2000 and 2019. One danger of heavier trucks is that they need more distance to stop. The new “GMC Hummer EV, for example, exceeds the Brooklyn Bridge’s 3-ton weight limit by 50%.”

In addition, the flat fronts and high hoods create blind spots much worse than passenger car blind spots. Many drivers can’t see pedestrians or small cars that are right in front of them. Per a study in Economics of Transportation, estimates show “that if between 2000 and 2019 all light trucks were replaced with cars, more than 8,000 pedestrians would still be alive today.”

The author (the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, a New York City-based walking, biking, and safe streets advocacy organization) of the Bloomberg article claims that car makers are “overcompensating on size, machismo, and violence to make up for a plug instead of a pump.”

A few examples illustrate the Bloomberg author’s points:

  • “The Ford F-150 Lightning is 35% heavier than its gas-powered version. The enormous front compartment, freed of its need to hold such a powerful engine, has become the entirely unnecessary “Mega Power Frunk” (front trunk), adding more storage space at the expense of visibility and others’ safety.”
  • Dodge is advertising that it will be selling American eMuscle that will “tear up the streets,” and not the planet.

“While car companies and their enthusiasts may push back against these changes by citing consumer demand for larger and more powerful vehicles, what most consumers do not want is to kill a child while driving to pick up groceries.”

Car manufactures must balance the demand for bigger more powerful electric vehicles when the need to protect the driving public.

What will make electric vehicles safer?

Electric vehicles are becoming more and more viable thanks to new technology and cheaper batteries. Many brand-name companies like BMW, Volkswagen, Hyundai, and others offering new models. Counterpoint Research states that there are concerns though – as illustrated by several explosions of electric vehicles in Asia, Russia, and Canada. Counterpoint Research states that while the odds of an electric vehicle (EV) catching fire are better than cars with internal combustion engines catching fire, there’s still a lot of work to be done to make EVs safer. Several EV manufacturers such as NIO (a Chinese EV company) and Audi have already had recalls due to the risk of the vehicles catching fire.

Safety measures include:

  • Setting better charging standards. Different standards increase the odds of fires because of different power and voltage being supplied by different charging builders. A uniform global charging standard would be safer.
  • Battery design dangers. Electric vehicles (EVs) are generally safer than internal combustion vehicles “due to lower flammability of Li-ion batteries.” However, the battery cells used in EVs can overheat “with prolonged exposure to defective voltage regulators, alternators, or the improper use of chargers.  Thermal runaway can occur leading to a fire.” Charging an EV designed for slow chargers with fast chargers can affect the integrity of the EV batteries.
  • Requiring continual maintenance. Maintenance of electric vehicles including battery boxes, waterproofing, high voltage wiring harnesses, and temperature management is essential.

Other improvements include using liquid cooling technology to keep the battery temperature in a safe range. For example, “Tesla uses an extra aluminum plate for fire protection between the battery pack and passenger compartment.”

Many EV companies including Toyota, Tesla, Volkswagen, BYD, and BMW are investing in the next generation of safer battery technologies.

At Philbrook Law Office, our car accident lawyers in Vancouver, and Battle Ground, WA hold drivers accountable when their negligence causes and an accident. We also hold car and truck manufacturers liable when the parts they make are defective and the defects cause personal injuries and the deaths of loved ones. In personal injury (negligence and product liability) cases, we demand compensation for your pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost income, and the damage to your car. In wrongful death cases, we demand payment of the funeral and burial costs and the ways that the decedent’s deaths affect the family members – financially and emotionally.

To discuss your car accident claim with seasoned personal injury lawyers, call our attorneys in Vancouver or Battle Ground, WA. You can phone us at 360-695-3309 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment. We represent accident claims on a contingency fee basis.