Electric vehicles are becoming supersized – at the risk of safety

Earlier this year, General Motors (GM) reported that it would halt the production of its most popular electric vehicle, the Chevy Bolt. They will focus instead on larger electric vehicles such as the Chevrolet Equinox EV. This comes at a potentially significant cost to safety.

A Chevy Bolt (entry-level electric vehicle) from front and side

Chevy Bolt

Equinox EV from side and back

Equinox EV

Electric cars and SUVs are getting bigger

As GM’s most popular EV (electric vehicle), the Chevy Bolt was defined by its comparatively low price and modest size. Despite the Chevy Bolt’s popularity, it is being replaced by the Equinox EV, an entry-level electric car that is larger, heavier, and more expensive. Yet the withdrawal of the Bolt is not surprising in today’s vehicle market. It is consistent with the trend towards more and more companies opting for vehicles of considerable size. These include the Cadillac Lyric weighing 5,900 pounds and the GMC Hummer EV at over 9,000 pounds.

What many don’t know is that batteries for electric cars are heavy and add substantial weight to the vehicles, compared to traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. The table below contrasts the weights of ICEs and EVs.

Table showing the weights for different types of cars

Table: CBS News; Source: Consumer Reports

Why are larger cars and SUVs more dangerous?

As the size of the electric car increases, so do the possible injuries and fatalities for pedestrians, cyclists, and those inside lighter vehicles. With a greater height and weight, larger cars are more dangerous. Why?

  • Firstly, a larger car has a greater blind spot.
  • The car’s height also makes it more likely that a collision will result in a pedestrian’s torso as the focal target.
  • The weight difference of a car can have a significant effect on the damage in a crash. Just 1,000 pounds can cause a 47% increase in the likelihood of a crash being fatal.

New proposed initiatives would require that one-fourth of new trucks and two-thirds of new cars be electric by 2032. The resulting increase in electric vehicles on the road would have far-reaching environmental benefits. Despite the importance of this, it is essential that we also consider safety when designing these vehicles. And not just for those inside the car.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident through no fault of your own, call the car accident lawyers at Allen & Allen today for a free case evaluation at 866-388-1307. We are here to help.