Heavier & more powerful new EVs raise road safety concerns

The Hummer EV’s gross weight is 4,785 kg, of which the battery alone weighs around 1,315 kg – almost the same weight that of a Honda Civic.

According to Jennifer Homendy, Chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, modern electric vehicles are getting too heavy and too powerful. Homendy stated that she was concerned that the increasing size, power and performance of electric vehicles could result in a rise in the risk of severe injuries and death for all road users.

The NTSB Chair, in her speech, drew attention to the GMC Hummer EV, mentioning its massive kerb weight of 4,110 kg, while still being able to accelerate from 0 – 60 mph in 3 seconds. She further added that the Hummer EV’s gross weight is 4,785 kg, of which the battery alone weighs around 1,315 kg – almost the same weight that of a Honda Civic. She also mentioned how the electric version of the Ford F-150 is 900 – 1400 kg heavier than its non-electric counterparts & how this could have a significant impact on the safety of road users.

Reports mentioned how heavier vehicles impart more energy during a crash, compared to lighter ones. Also, how small increases in speed become big increases in kinetic energy during a crash; and while there are set speed limits, there isn’t a similar restriction on the kerb weights of passenger vehicles.

Other examples include a graph showing the increase in vehicle mass between 1993 and 2023. Reports take examples of the Ford F-150, BMW 3 Series and even the MINI to showcase the increasing weight of vehicles, while also comparing them to the newest EV in the brand’s lineup.

Reports also state that crash tests conducted by the National Highway Safety Administration have changed over time. The tests are now conducted at higher speeds and at different angles. While this has improved passenger safety, pedestrians and other road users are still at high risk, especially with customers buying larger SUVs compared to smaller sedans in the past. This is further combined with EVs having to cram larger batteries in their vehicles to offset long charging times.

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