Independent, Expert EV Reviews & Advice Since 2006
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Are Electric Cars Dangerous in an Accident?

Electric car sales soared above 2.1 million globally in 2019. This reflected a 40% year on year increase in EV sales.

With the impending fuel price war during the Ukraine Russia crisis, fuel prices threaten to go through the roof. As a result, more and more people are looking at EVs to keep their travelling costs down.

As EVs are adopted, the number of accidents involving EVs will naturally increase.

This begs the question of whether EVs have any unique dangers due to their components?

For example, have you considered whether battery-operated vehicles are more prone to catching fire in an accident or even exploding?

If you have experienced a car accident, whether in an electric or traditional vehicle, you may need to consider when to hire a car accident lawyer.

Let’s take a look at EVs and car accidents.

Can an EV Battery Pack Explode?

An electric vehicle battery can explode. However, electric vehicles are no more likely to explode or catch fire than any other type of vehicle.

Electric cars have cooling systems in place to prevent fire or explosion. However, high temperatures, crashes, or overcharging can cause electric car batteries to ignite.

The batteries, if damaged, can get wet and explode or catch fire, and if they do, the vapours can be extremely hazardous.

If electric vehicles catch fire, they are often more difficult to extinguish.

Electric cars use lithium-ion batteries, which can burn for hours. So lots of water is needed to put out the fire.

For example, to extinguish a Tesla which had caught fire, it took more than 30,000 gallons of water in four hours to extinguish because of the heat the fire creates. A typical car fire takes around 30 minutes to handle and around 500 to 1,000 gallons of water.

So, putting out an electrical fire is more problematic and requires a different approach.

How Common Are Electric Fires?

Battery-driven EVs have just a 0.03 per cent chance of igniting, while an internal combustion engine has a 1.5 per cent chance.

Hybrid electric vehicles have been shown to have a 3.4 per cent likelihood, according to a study.

None of these odds are particularly worrying. Indeed, EVs are improving all the time, with improved safety always at the forefront.

What About the Added Weight of EVs?

Although EVs generally weigh more than traditional cars due to the weight of the batteries, it has been found in crash tests that electric cars appear to perform better.

This is borne out in the real world setting as well, with human drivers and passengers aboard.

Injury claims for electric vehicles were about 40% lower than accidents involving identical gas-powered models, according to data from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI).

The extra weight of EVs may be responsible for better accidents results.

Research shows that occupants in heavier vehicles experience less force in a crash, leading to fewer injuries

Are You More Likely to be Injured as an Occupant in an EV Accident?

Accidents are one thing. Sustaining an injury in the accident is quite another.

The NHTSA has concluded that the likelihood of passenger injuries in crashes involving EVs is slightly lower than in traditional vehicles.

EVs are thus safer for passengers than vehicles with gasoline and diesel engines.


The combination of dropping prices and technological advances of EVs have increased EV sales over the past few years.

With governments progressively providing deadlines for the end of sales of internal combustion engines, the future is clearly with the EV crowd.

Safety is continually being improved, and by the time EVs are the standard, they will probably provide a much safer alternative.