Friday, February 3, 2023
News Top U.S. Safety Investigator "Concerned" About Risks of Larger, Heavier EVs

Top U.S. Safety Investigator “Concerned” About Risks of Larger, Heavier EVs

NTSB boss talks heavy EVs and crash safety risk

  • Hefty EVs can cause more injuries to those in lighter vehicles

  • EVs often weigh 1/3rd more than similar combustion models


A top U.S. government safety official is worried about the safety risks of large and heavy EVs if they get into more crashes with lighter vehicles.

Jennifer Homendy is head of the National Transportation Safety Board. Unlike the NHTSA, which regulates the safety features that go into new vehicles, the NTSB looks into crashes. This usually means aviation, rail, and marine crashes, but it also applies to some highway crashes.

“I’m concerned about the increased risk of severe injury and death for all road users from heavier curb weights and increasing size, power, and performance of vehicles on our roads, including electric vehicles,” Homendy said (via NPR).

She mentioned vehicles like the electric GMC Hummer which weighs approximately 9,000 lbs. The Hummer EV’s battery alone weighs almost as much as a Honda Civic. The Ford F-150 Lightning EV weighs 2 to 3,000 lbs more than the gas version of that model, and Homendy noted that many EVs are roughly 33 percent heavier than their gas counterparts.

Heavier models do more damage to lighter models in the event of a collision. This can mean more injuries and a higher likelihood of death for those in the lighter vehicle. EVs are also likely to offer greatly enhanced acceleration when compares with similar gas models, but the extra weight increases braking distances and reduces maneuverability.

While Homendy noted the importance of EVs in reducing carbon emissions and their role in addressing the climate crisis, she said that safety was still a concern. “We have to be careful that we aren’t also creating unintended consequences: More death on our roads,” she said. “Safety, especially when it comes to new transportation policies and new technologies, cannot be overlooked.”

 

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