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NTSB Official Warns of Increased Risk of Severe Injury and Death For All Road Users From Heavier E-Vehicles

Glen Larson Law Personal Injury Attorneys in Austin, Texas know that the push to transition to more electric vehicles to phase out carbon emissions to deal with the climate crisis is not without consequences. Now, there are real safety concerns on record from the head of the National Transportation Safety Board, Jennifer Homendy.

This week, Ms. Homendy expressed concern about the safety risks that heavy electric vehicles pose if they collide with lighter vehicles.

In a speech in Washington to the Transportation Research Board, she noted that an electric GMC Hummer weighs about 9,000 pounds, with a battery pack that alone weighs 2,900 pounds — roughly the entire weight of a typical Honda Civic.

“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 in remarks prepared for the group.

“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.”

“It’s A Simple Matter of Mass and Speed.”

The extra weight of electric vehicles typically originates from the mass of their batteries. To achieve 300 or more miles of range per charge from an EV, batteries must weigh thousands of pounds.

Examples given at the conference included:

  • Ford’s F-150 Lightning EV pickup is 2,000 to 3,000 pounds heavier than the same model’s combustion version.
  • Mustang’s Mach E electric SUV and the Volvo XC40 EV are both roughly 33% heavier than their gasoline counterparts.

“That has a significant impact on safety for all road users,” Homendy added.

Michael Brooks, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, said he, too, is concerned about the weight of EVs because buyers seem to be demanding a range of 300 or more miles per charge, requiring heavy batteries.

“These bigger, heavier batteries are going to cause more damage,” he said. “It’s a simple matter of mass and speed.”

Lack of Research on the Impact of EV Crashes Places Everyone in Danger

Brooks said he knows of little research done on the safety risks of increasing vehicle weights.

What is more, the chemistry of its composition has the potential to pack more energy into less mass. EVs are also designed to deliver instant power to their wheels, making them accelerate faster in most cases than most gas-powered cars, trucks, and SUVs, which can be a significant factor during a crash.

In 2011, the National Bureau of Economic Research published a paper that said being hit by a vehicle with an added 1,000 pounds increases by 47% the probability of being killed in a crash.

Also, many newer electric SUVs are tall with limited visibility, which poses risks to pedestrians or drivers of smaller vehicles, he said.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured or killed in a collision with an EV in Texas, call our skilled car accident attorneys in Austin, Texas at (512) 699-1382 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation.

We pursue dedicated, driven results for our clients, and there is never a charge to talk to an attorney. We stand ready to help you.

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