Whenever new technology emerges which supplants or changes a more traditional form of technology, there is always a period of resistance, resignation, and concern about the implications of this change. A good example of this comes from the automotive industry and the development of electric cars. These vehicles mark a drastic change in automotive design over traditional, gas-powered cars. One of the concerns that has arisen regards the safety of these vehicles, their unique battery structure, and the risks associated with them. But given how gasoline is also a very volatile and combustible substance, is one type of vehicle actually safer than the other?
The alleged dangers of an electric car tend to revolve around the powerful lithium-ion batteries that serve as the power source for electric cars, or co-power source for hybrids. Lithium-ion batteries allow for extremely high energy storage, but the chemical reactions contained within them that allow for the creation of that energy could result in a powerful fire if the battery fails. This is the same kind of issue that has resulted in laptop and cell phone batteries catching on fire, though the smaller batteries would naturally result in smaller fires. A separate concern revolves around how much quieter electric cars are and the danger this poses to pedestrians. Being able to hear a car coming is just as important as being able to see one and avoid injury. These represent dangers of serious injury, and if either of them has happened to you, you may want to consider speaking with a personal injury attorney.
When it comes to how quiet electric cars are, that danger has been partially mitigated by certain manufacturers equipping their vehicles with sound emitters that trigger while driving slowly. As for the dangers of lithium-ion batteries overloading and bursting into flame, this issue is in some ways similar to the dangers of fuel or fuel vapors being combustible. Government studies have indicated that the risk of accidental combustion in an electric car is at the same level of, if not lower than, the risk in a gasoline-powered vehicle. One of the key differences between gas and electric cars though is that because gas-powered vehicles have been around for so much longer, our knowledge of them has increased over time and many of the risks are fully explored. The same can not be said for electric cars.
Despite the need for continued study on the risks of damage to a car’s lithium-ion battery, early indicators suggest that electric cars may indeed be safer than their gas-powered counterparts and are almost certainly no more dangerous. Many products can malfunction, even despite vigorous testing. Many vehicles have had serious part failures occur, and lawsuits for damages due to these failures and the resulting injuries have been around for decades. In that sense, an electric car battery catching fire is no different than a brake failure, leaking fuel line erupting, or an engine blowing up. Unless there is a consistent pattern of catastrophic battery failures, there’s no reason to believe that electric cars pose a greater combustion risk than any other vehicle.
Even with the testing that electric cars go through, safety is never a guarantee. Parts can fail on your vehicle or other motorists’ and involve you in an accident. If the unfortunate does happen in the Arizona area, ELG Law is here to listen to you. Call us at 623-321-0566 for a free consultation. One of our experienced attorneys will listen to the details of your situation and see if you have a potential case we can help you with. As technology and the law evolves, ELG Law is dedicated to evolving with it to represent you in the best way possible.