EV Safety: Everything You Need to Know to Be Safe On and Off the Road

August 17th, 2023 by

The rise in the popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) over the last decade has resulted in nearly every manufacturer offering at least one electrified version in its lineup. Other manufacturers, such as Chevrolet, offer an electrified version in almost every model. As this technology hasn’t been around very long, we asked our EV experts to discuss the safety of these vehicles. Here’s what they found.

How To Keep My EV Safe On and Off the Road?

ev vehicles charging at a station

You should know that EVs typically weigh much more than their gas-powered equivalents. The increase in weight stems from the heavy battery pack. For example, a midsize gas-powered SUV might weigh 4,000 pounds, but the same midsize electric utility vehicle could weigh 6,000 pounds or more. Generally, heavier vehicles offer better crash protection than lighter vehicles.

However, not enough research has gone into the safety of EV occupants involved in accidents. An EV may be heavier, but the weight distribution differs from a gas-powered car. And you don’t have that heavy engine in the front to absorb impact energy. Instead, an EV has a lower center of gravity. This does help reduce the risk of rolling the vehicle over.

Off the road, you want to ensure your home charging station can handle the current necessary to recharge your battery. Many older homes have old wiring that may be unsafe and could lead to a fire. We recommend that you get a professional to install your home charging station to ensure adequate safety.

In addition, you should have your EV battery routinely inspected. Every battery has to meet strict federal standards for safety. For example, it must be encased in a sealed shell and tested against damage from vibration, collision, high heat, extreme temperatures, humidity, water immersion, and fire. Inspecting the battery will ensure the integrity of the casing.

Some EV batteries require a cooling system to prevent overheating. We recommend that a professional inspect and maintain this system regularly according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule.

How Can I Ensure My Safety in an EV

Keeping yourself safe on the road starts with good driving habits. One significant difference found in EVs is their ability to accelerate rapidly. It isn’t uncommon for an EV with two or three motors to reach 60 mph in under 5 seconds. Every driver should observe the speed limits, especially in neighborhoods where children play.

Beyond being a good, safe driver, EVs typically have cutting-edge technology to assist in crash prevention. Systems such as forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking go a long way to helping mitigate or avoid accidents.

Additional systems such as rear cross-traffic alert help you navigate tight parking lots, while lane-keeping assist and lane departure warning help you change and stay centered in your lane, resulting in safer driving and reduced driver fatigue.

Many EVs offer a surround-view camera system that projects a bird’s-eye view of your vehicle. This system makes parking more accessible and safer.

We recommend you learn how to operate these systems and their parameters. Some of them only work in conjunction with other active systems. Becoming an expert at using them will significantly improve your safety on the road.

How Does My EV Car Run Differently Than a Gas-Powered Vehicle?

Electric and gas vehicles look the same in many ways, inside and out. And both get you from place to place. However, the propulsion system differs significantly. Traditional gas-powered cars use an internal combustion engine (ICE). An ICE powertrain in a vehicle typically has anywhere from three to eight cylinders, although a few go as high as 12.

Gas gets fed into the cylinders and compressed with air. A spark then ignites the air/fuel mixture. The resulting explosion creates energy that rotates a shaft leading to a transmission. The transmission has a series of gears that control the engine’s power output and deliver it to the drive axle or axles, which turn the wheels and propel the vehicle.

An EV powertrain has no engine or transmission and doesn’t require gas. Instead, it has one or more electric motors and a gearbox. A large battery pack provides the electricity to power the motor, and the gearbox captures that power and delivers it to the drive axle or axles, which turn the wheels and propel the vehicle.

An EV powertrain takes up much less space than gas-powered vehicles. However, EVs have much larger batteries than ICE cars. The placement of the EV battery pack typically resides beneath the cabin floor and, combined with the lack of an engine, transmission, and gas tank, opens up space for a much larger cabin. EV batteries need to be recharged, much like refilling the gas tank in a traditional car.

The gearbox in an EV has only one gear because the power output in an EV stays consistent, whereas the gas powertrain puts out a range of power as the engine revs faster. The variable power requires a transmission with as many as 10 gears to transmit the power to the drive wheels without damaging the system.

How Is the Maintenance Different in an EV Than a Gas-Powered Car?

Maintaining an EV costs less than a gas-powered car because it has fewer parts that can break down. Fewer breakdowns mean fewer repair expenses. However, these parts can be expensive to replace when they do break.

Still, an EV doesn’t require routine maintenance such as oil changes, engine air filters, and fuel filters found in gas vehicles. As a result, you have much lower recurring expenses. An EV doesn’t have an engine cooling system either, although some have battery cooling systems that may require maintenance. Even brake pad replacements become fewer because of the regenerative braking systems used in EVs.

Explore EVs in Youngstown Today

If you’re ready to switch from gasoline to electricity to power your commute, we invite you to shop our virtual inventory. Cochran Cars has an expansive inventory of EVs in every brand we represent at competitive prices. You can visit our showroom once you discover a few vehicles you’d like a closer look at. One of our EV experts will answer all your questions and let you take your preferred model for a test drive

Plugged In Electric Vehicle Charging by Noya Fields is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0

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