Excellent post Charles. If I may, are there NHTSA standards for ICEs, EV and Hybrids or just one standard for all types of vehicles? It seems to me the three points you make would be relevant to all vehicles of differing types. There were many excellent comments regarding your post but those safety factors mentioned I feel certainly apply.
There is so much wrong with your post, I'm not sure where to begin.
1. The ratings don't transfer between cars. Every car is tested on its own. The article pointed out that when designing an EV, certain safety improvements come along even if you're not designing for safety. For example, lower center of gravity, no big block of iron directly in front of the driver, etc.
2. The tests were not "written for gas vehicles." They were written for the cars we drive and how we drive them. That testing shows that a sports car won't roll over as easily as an SUV is just as pertinent and valid as the test that shows an EV won't roll over as easily as an ICE car.
If other safety issues arise that are unique to EVs, I'm sure NHTS will start testing for them and rank them. Until then, they test for the most likely accident types in our driving.
When I had a front-end collision in my Nissan Rogue, the EMS responder pulled out a pair of wire cutters and cut the positive battery cable, because that was standard operating procedure in a vehicle accident. What the genius did not, apparently, notice was the big boxy area just off the battery terminal on the cable that contained a fusible link, which disconnected all power upon impact. That battery cable costs $150 with the fusible link from the dealer, but the fusible link only costs $70 to replace. It begs the question, in an electric car accident, will the EMS responder cut the battery cables on the electric car simply because it is 'SOP'? Another thing to consider is the toxicity of the leaking fluids from the batteries. Do they pose a health risk, and if so, how do they safely clean up the accident scene after a collision? Even though there is little risk of fire from the electric vehicle, what about any gasoline-powered vehicles also around the scene or involved? I do not know how much taining local fire departments give their people about automotive accidents, but I am willing to bet that it is not much. As I said, the battery cable on my Nissan Rogue had a safety cutoff system to do exactly what the wirecutters did, without damaging the cable. Without proper training, a well-meaning EMS responder may do more damage than good when trying to minimize the risk of a fire or injury to others. I worry about this, as we all should. I would not feel so badly about paying a higher price for a vehicle like the Tesla, if some of that money went to training fire departments in my area to respond properly to accidents involving one. No, I don't intend to have a front-end collision ever again, but I never intended to have the first one either. No matter what, I believe that a safer vehicle should include training for those responsible for public safety on how to handle those accidents that are bound to happen with that vehicle.
really, I don't driving a Tesla will stop a drunk driver or some teen texting from crashing into you. Accidents happen now matter how cautious of a driver you are so I would never assume that just because these buyer are more cautious they are much safer from accidents.
I am not saying that a battery pack is more or less dangerous than gasoline. I was answering the question about what is the problem with batteries in an accident. Whenever you have large amounts of energy stored it is dangerous. The extra or different danger in a battery pack is the crack or damage to the pack is not known so in a relatively small accident if you crack your battery casing you may go on as all seems well at some point latter the pack melts down. If it happens to be parked in your garage at the time garage fire. If you are driving it lots of smoke and quite possibly another accident as you loose control.
I don't know that a lithium battery pack is more dangerous than a CNG, propane or gasoline powered vehicle. Any material that can 'energetically disassemble' is a hazard. As a retired Volunteer Fire Fighter/EMT who has performed many extrications, I understand that hazards are rife at any accident scene and all Fire Fighters are trained and aware of them. I don't know of any energy source that is intrinsically safe. It does seem that as vehicles have more and more safety equipment installed drivers seem to consider collisions as more an inconvenience and less of a hazard.
Leto, after a collision and after I am out of the vehicle it is a lot less important what happens next. All of the terrible problems happen before anybody gets out of the vehicle, all of the fires after that may be quite inconvenient but they are seldom life threatening. Yes, having a $15K battery pack explode is a pain, but not a tragedy unless it happens before you get out of the crashed vehicle.
I have watched a lot of crashes at a test track and mostly there is not even any gas leak after collisions less than 45 MPH. And at the higher speeds you are more likely to be injured by that airbag explosion. AFTER ALL, HIGH SPEED COLLISIONS HAVE PROVED TO BE DANGEROUS! You will notice that all of the automakers recommend never bashing into anything with their product.
@Arch, as expensive as the Tesla vehicle is, I would expect that those owners wll pay a lot more attention to driving than the average driver does. Plus, they are probably more focused in all of their activities.
If it were evaluated it would probably become clear that most folks don't have accidents, but that a smaller percentage of folks have most of them. And that probably relates to the type of vehicle that they select. My point being that probably side impacts will be a lot less of a problem for Tesla owners.
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