New research suggests that electric vehicles could cost 35% less to maintain than combustion vehicles. In fact, despite the initial cost of electric cars, they are not only cheaper than “fuel,” but also cost 25% less than the average gas counterpart to maintain. But as we slowly transition to EV models, does that mean we are safe from accidents entirely? What makes a vehicle dangerous isn’t only just their size, speed, weight, and momentum. It is the tank full of gasoline, a dangerous substance, which has the potential to catch fire and explode within seconds. This is why drivers are switching from gas engines to electric cars.
Every year, 30,000 Americans die in car accidents across the United States alone. While EV models may cost more than the average small sedan or sports vehicle, they have the lowest annual cost in repair and maintenance, according to the American Automobile Association.
Every Battery Has a History
Electric vehicles are distinctly safer as they do not carry any gasoline but rather large arrays of Li-ion (lithium-ion). However, there have been a number of cases of the Li-ion batteries in smartphones and laptop computers catching fire. The problem relates to the high-energy density that is packed into each battery. If the small battery in cell phones are potentially dangerous, imagine how much more hazardous they could be in a car. For instance, the Tesla Roadster consists of 7,000 batteries per car.
The Center for Auto Safety claims that an electric car’s battery has the potential to catch on fire if it heats to the point of igniting flammable liquids nearby. While the facts that surround the Volt fire are complex, statistics report having one fire incident for every 1,000 cars annually – making auto fires a common feature on the road.
EV Cost & Maintenance
Maintaining an EV will cost a third of the current maintenance of a gas-powered car, according to OliNo Renewable Energy. The electric car contains a number of moving components, which are vulnerable to wear-and-tear. However, regular combustion maintenance including oil and filter replacements are not necessary.
Safety in Electric Cars
Electric vehicles like the Leaf and Volt have received stellar safety ratings, with awards for the front, side, near, and rollover protection from IIHS. Following the Volt fire incident, there are a few guidelines for EV users to consider:
- Battery and components are fully charged.
- Exposed components, high-voltage batteries, and wires presenting potential shock hazards.
- Off-gassing/venting battery vapors are potentially flammable and toxic.
- Physical damage to battery or vehicle may result in the delayed or immediate release of flammable gases and/or toxins that may cause a fire.
Overall, buying an electric vehicle rather than a gasoline-fueled option will save you money in the long-run. To reduce transportation costs, electric car users could charge their batteries when the prices are low and sell electricity onto the grid when rates show signs of increase. Thus, drivers must balance the supply and demand of power in EV to avoid costly upgrades and invest in efficient power plants.