The Deadly Threat That Some Electric Vehicles May Pose

Electric vehicles are quickly rising in popularity, however, they pose a little known deadly threat to drivers.

By Joseph Farago | Published

electric vehicles tesla recall

Electric vehicles are undoubtedly the vehicles of the future. While their innovation is getting nations closer to their net zero carbon emission goals, there are still some deficiencies with these cars. From their expansiveness to the complicated extraction of lithium, these vehicles have a long way to go before becoming accessible. Alongside this, manufacturing electric vehicles with their gigantic batteries makes them more deadly on American roads.

A figure that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released showcased a record-high number of auto-related deaths in the US. The figure showed 9,560 fatalities in the first quarter of 2022, which is the highest since 2002. Though these deaths and the increased purchasing of electric vehicles might seem unrelated, a manufacturing issue with EVs could be the culprit for this rise in fatalities. Electrified versions of large, heavy trucks like an SUV cause more damage on the road, which will continue to increase as more trucks transition to battery power.

Currently, the US leads all other nations with the highest number of road collision fatalities. Every comparable country had their automotive deaths decline over the last decade, while the United States’s amount went up. The US’s road fatalities didn’t just go up slightly but soared upward by 30% over the last ten years. If this increase is only occurring in America, what sets the United States apart from other nations? Experts believe that SUVs and trucks, and the new electric-vehicle versions of these models, are a significant reason for the fatality uptick.

The United States produces heavy, monstrous trucks and SUVs. Unlike smaller cars, trucks hit a pedestrian at their torso instead of the legs, which causes significantly more damage. A recent study showed that Americans switching to SUVs drastically increased road collisions and pedestrian deaths over the last ten years. Deaths of people walking across the street rose by 40% over the past decade, while other nations saw a decrease. Now, experts are worried that the SUV transition to electric vehicles will continue this concerning trend.

Many are worried that constructing electrified SUVs will make them more dangerous. For one, electric vehicle batteries are heavy and add extra tonnage to an already hefty automobile. The bigger the car, the larger the battery, increasing an electric truck’s weight and power. The Ford F-150 Lightning is an example of the extreme EV tonnage; the car is 6,500 pounds, which is 30% heavier than the gas-powered model. Hummers are also making electric vehicles, which makes these trucks enormously heavy. Hummer EVs weigh over 9,000 pounds, with a heavier battery than some smaller cars entirely.

Alongside their weight, people are concerned about electric vehicles’ ability to accelerate quickly. The battery pack inside EVs helps these massive cars accelerate at a faster rate, which could leave serious damage in an accidental collision. The speed and heftiness of these electrified trucks worry many drivers on the road who own cars that an EV impact could severely squash. If manufacturers don’t figure out how to make lighter EVs, more battery-powered trucks and SUVs entering American roads could continue the increase of car-related deaths.