CRASH TEST: Electric cars are more dangerous than conventional cars, says Global Insurance Company

Electric cars cause more damage in crashes than conventional cars – in part because of their incredible acceleration – and the increased weight of electric cars and trucks is a huge concern for occupants of lighter cars and will lead to increased number of pedestrian deaths, announced a Swiss insurance company. after last month’s crash tests.

“A look at AXA Switzerland’s accident statistics shows that drivers of electric cars cause 50% more collisions with damage to their own vehicles than those of conventional combustion engines,” the technology giant said. insurance in a German-language statement titled, ominously, “AXA Crash Tests 2022 — More collisions and new risks from electric cars.

The company attributed the greater crash damage to what it called the “overshoot effect” which causes electric cars to accelerate much faster than their conventional counterparts using the same force on the accelerator pedal. . “The overlap effect” is “likely to drive the increase in the frequency of claims for high-performance electric cars,” the company added.

“Most electric cars, especially the more powerful ones, have very high torque, which is immediately noticeable when you step on the power pedal. This can lead to jerky and unwanted accelerations, which the driver can no longer control,” said Michael Pfäffli, Head of Accident Research at AXA Switzerland.

Crash test dummies after a hard day on the track.  Photo: Michael Buholzer/AXA
Crash test dummies after a hard day on the track. Photo: Michael Buholzer/AXA

It’s also worth noting that the company conducted crash tests on August 25 that revealed the electric cars’ weight made them a threat. The company crashed two Volkswagen Golfs head-on at 31 miles per hour. The gas-powered Golf weighed 2,755 pounds while the electric version weighed 3,637 or 32 percent more.

“The [lighter] Golf is exposed to a significantly higher load in this accident and therefore suffers visibly greater bodily damage,” AXA said. “In the event of an accident, the difference in weight between the vehicles involved is crucial.”

The researchers continued that the occupants of both cars would have been safe from injury because “both passenger compartments remain intact” and “the occupants of both vehicles are well protected”. But this becomes problematic for occupants of older models.

The crash test summary didn’t even mention pedestrians, who are at greater risk of death from heavier vehicles, as numerous studies have shown. US authorities pointed out in 2019 that larger cars are, of course, safer…for their occupants.

And the cars are only getting heavier. “Compared to cars built in 2000, which averaged 2,950 pounds, newer cars are about 25% heavier,” the company said. “AXA accident investigators assume that the average weight of a new vehicle will be two tonnes in a few years due to battery operation.”

The findings, however, did not make the insurance company wary of covering the next generation of Tesla, Bolt or other electric car owners, but wanted to wave a warning flag.

“The triumph of electromobility can no longer be stopped. It’s not only good for the environment, but also makes driving fun,” said Nils Reich, property insurance manager for AXA Germany. “However, we insurers and our customers also have to manage new risks: electric cars… can often result in more costly individual claims.”

That certainly doesn’t stop America from starting a massive drive to electrify the vehicle fleet, despite the negatives of electric cars such as their demand for minerals that are often unsustainably or exploitatively mined, their poor use of public space, their contribution to more driving, their weight leading to more road deaths, and how, temporarily at least, more electric cars will allow automakers to sell more gas-guzzling cars as well.

AXA’s crash tests proved controversial because in one version a Tesla was rigged to catch fire – an eerie flashback to the notorious 1992 “Dateline NBC” catastrophic crash test. As NBC trying to document a leak gas in a GM pickup, AXA was trying to show that electric cars also have an Achilles heel: their underside is not properly armored against collisions.

But in this accident, the Tesla battery was not damaged. AXA simply lit it to show that electronic drum fires are very difficult to put out.

“If the battery is damaged, it can quickly cause huge fires,” Reich said. “If there is only a risk of a battery fire, the vehicle [will burn] For days.”

On September 1, the company was forced to release a statement distancing itself from the stunt – but the statement doubled down on the dangers of electric cars.

“Statistics from AXA Switzerland show that drivers of electric cars cause 50% more collisions with damage to their own vehicle than drivers of conventional combustion engines,” the statement said. “Statistics also show that drivers of more powerful electric vehicles more often cause damage to their own vehicle or to third-party vehicles. We wanted to draw attention to these statistical results with this year’s crash tests and at the same time raise awareness of the dangers that can arise in accidents involving battery-powered cars.

The company said the results of the Golf crash test show “crash risks cannot be compared to the standardized crash tests” that are currently carried out under the European version of the new car assessment programme, which should be strengthened to include heavier e-. cars, the company said.

“Electric car drivers should be aware of unintended rapid accelerations (known as the overshoot effect),” the company concluded. “Dealing with this immediate force has to be learned. If possible, drivers should manually reduce the level of acceleration at the steering wheel… in order to obtain greater resistance when pressing the power pedal.

The sense of security that drivers, particularly in electric cars, increasingly have as cars get heavier is also alarming.

“Heavy-duty vehicle drivers tend to have a higher level of intrinsic safety,” the company said. “That is precisely why they must be aware of their responsibility towards other road users: lighter vehicles are at a disadvantage in the event of an accident.”


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