Mobility Blog

E-car safety

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E-car safety

When it comes to e-mobility, vehicle safety is often questioned. For example, it is said that e-cars are not safe and that if a battery caught fire, it could not be extinguished. But what is behind these statements? And are e-cars really more dangerous than cars with conventional combustion engines? We got to the bottom of the most common arguments.


E-cars catch fire more often than other cars

The risk of fire in an electric car is no higher than in any other vehicle. All registered cars must meet legal requirements that guarantee the highest level of safety for drivers and passengers – especially with regard to fire safety. And this is independent of the drive.[1]

Experiments by the fire brigade have also shown that fire intensity is not related to the type of drive but rather to the materials used. Large quantities in particular of plastic are found in many modern cars and represent an important factor here.[2]


If the battery of an electric car catches fire, it cannot be extinguished

The ignition of the battery is also referred to as “thermal runaway”. This can happen as a result of severe damage or deformation in the event of a major accident. If a “thermal runaway” occurs, the battery can be extinguished only with copious amounts of water. But even then it can still be extinguished. The fire brigade has a special extinguishing lance for such scenarios. This allows the extinguishing water to be sprayed directly into the battery.


Electric cars offer less protection in the event of accidents

A look at the Euro NCAP crash tests even shows the exact opposite here. In both the “family vehicles” and “fleet vehicles” categories, e-cars are always found in the top positions. Many of the electric vehicles tested were also awarded the highest rating of five stars. Thus, if an accident occurs, you are protected in the best possible way in an e-car.


In the event of an accident, there is a danger to the life of the rescuers because of the high voltage

In the event of an accident, the high-voltage system is switched off immediately. This cut-off mechanism is often linked to the trigger of the air bag system and thus ensures the safety of the first responders.

However, regardless of the type of drive, it is advisable to carry a rescue card. This gives rescue workers a direct overview of safety-relevant systems in the vehicle. The rescue card can be downloaded here.[3]


Charging an e-car is dangerous

The current between the car and the charging station does not flow until a secure connection has been established. For this purpose, the plugs are automatically locked at both the car and the charging station. They are unlocked again only after the charging process has been completed using the app or directly at the charging station. Safety is thus always guaranteed – even at high output. By the way: it is not possible to overcharge the vehicle battery. However, as with all electrical devices with a rechargeable battery, an e-car should be unplugged as soon as possible after it has been fully charged in order to preserve battery life. [4]

As a general rule, extreme caution must always be exercised when handling electricity. Each charging station must therefore be commissioned by a specialist. In the worst case, improper installation can result in a fire.


The risk of accidents for pedestrians and cyclists increases

Because of the absence of engine noise, electric cars are quieter than vehicles with combustion engines up to a speed of 30 km/h. When driving faster, electric cars also draw attention to themselves through the rolling noise of the wheels. In areas with many pedestrians and slow speeds, special care must be taken. Older e-cars in particular can go unnoticed because they are completely silent on the road. On the other hand, newly registered electric vehicles must emit an audible signal up to a speed of 20 km/h.


As you can see, e-cars are no more dangerous than vehicles with conventional combustion engines. Nevertheless, there are still a few differences to consider in daily use. For example, in some areas (e.g. encounter zones), increased attention should be paid by both e-car drivers and passers-by because of the lower noise level. In other areas (e.g. crash tests), e-cars already perform equally well or even better than other vehicles. Therefore, in terms of safety, nothing stands in the way of a switch to electromobility.