Potential downsides of heavy electric vehicles

On Behalf of | Apr 4, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Electric vehicles have made headlines in the last several years with their advanced systems and increasingly efficient operation. Yet, some experts wonder whether the increasing number of electric vehicles on Oregon roads could pose unique hazards when accidents occur.

Are electric vehicles dangerous?

The excessive weight of some all-electric vehicles has worried some experts at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Could their extra weight make motor vehicle accidents more severe, resulting in potentially more devastating injuries?

Over the last decade, the IIHS, which tests all vehicle makes and models for their crashworthiness, has conducted experiments, loading steel plates into SUVs and other vehicles to mimic the weight of electric vehicles in crash tests. The results have been disturbing. The heavier vehicles have caused lighter vehicles, even those that performed well in previous tests, to perform poorly, exhibiting additional gravitational forces on passengers in the smaller vehicles.

The theory is that drivers and passengers in smaller vehicles, even those with good crash ratings, may not fare well. Pedestrians and bicyclists would also be at greater risk when coming into contact with electric vehicles.

Electric vehicle accidents may represent uncharted territory

The increasing size of fully electric vehicles makes some closer in weight to small trucks than regular cars, meaning that personal injuries from these mishaps may mimic those from accidents with smaller commercial trucks. Many current electric SUVs exceed 6,000 lbs while the GMC Hummer EV weighs more than 9,500 lbs. These vehicles weigh similarly to some commercial vehicles, so it’s reasonable to consider that they could behave similarly in an accident scenario.

The weight of electric vehicles continues to increase because consumers demand longer ranges and better performance from their engines. Additionally, pickup truck manufacturers have introduced all-electric models. These performance characteristics require heavier batteries. If you have been seriously injured in a crash with an electric vehicle, the heavy battery may have significantly contributed to your injuries.