Electric Car Accident Statistics & Facts

The first Model T was introduced in 1908, and it would revolutionize how Americans commute and explore their surroundings. One hundred years later, in 2008, Tesla unveiled its first consumer electric vehicle and ushered in a new era of transportation.

Today, electric vehicles, or EVs, continue to gain popularity; sales of EVs exceeded 1 million vehicles for the first time in 2023. The federal government and private companies continue to innovate to make EVs more accessible and suitable for everyday use by Americans across the country.

The country is now at a crossroads: Policymakers and car manufacturers must decide between investing in EVs or in traditional internal combustion engine cars. For the time being, it seems that Americans are leaning into EVs. This means you can anticipate seeing more of these vehicles on the road.

EVs are considered to be more energy-efficient and better for the environment than internal combustion engines. But are they safer? Electric car accident statistics can reveal the answer.

How EVs Differ From Traditional Internal Combustion Engine Cars

Understanding electric car accident statistics requires an appreciation of the many physical differences between EVs and other cars. 

There is one clear difference: EVs are powered by rechargeable batteries, while vehicles with internal combustion engines are fueled by gasoline. Other differences between the vehicles include:

  • EVs can accelerate more quickly than gas-powered vehicles
  • Compared to gas-powered vehicles, EVs run much more quietly due to the lack of an internal combustion engine
  • Electric vehicles tend to be heavier than traditional cars due to the weight of the battery and related equipment
  • Generally, the heavier a vehicle is, the safer its occupants are in the event of a crash
  • For others who share the road, heavier vehicles tend to be more dangerous in crashes due to the increased mass and energy transfer
  • Heavier vehicles also handle differently than lighter cars, which can be a challenge for EV drivers

This information suggests that if EV crashes occur more frequently than other types of vehicle accidents, you would expect to find that more of these accidents would result in severe or fatal injuries to others. But is this conclusion borne out by electric car accident statistics?

Insights From Electric Car Accident Statistics

Some key takeaways can be gleaned from electric car accident statistics:

You Are Less Likely to Be Hurt in an EV Crash

Examining electric car accident statistics reveals that occupants of electric vehicles are safer than occupants of gasoline-powered cars or trucks. For example, you are 40% less likely to be injured while using an EV than while driving or riding in a traditional internal combustion engine vehicle.

This lower risk of injury also includes the risk of a vehicle catching fire. Internal combustion engine vehicles are approximately 50 times more likely to catch fire in an accident compared to EVs — there has been one Tesla fire for every 210 million vehicle miles traveled, while an internal combustion engine vehicle catches fire once every 19 million vehicle miles traveled.

Your EV May Suffer More Damage in a Crash

While you may be safer in an EV, your electric vehicle may not be so lucky. Electric car accident statistics show that an EV will typically sustain 50% more severe damage than a traditional vehicle in a crash. Nearly one out of every two EVs involved in high-speed collisions ended up being totaled.

Proportionally, EVs Get Into Fewer Crashes

You are less likely to be hurt in an EV car wreck because you are less likely to be in a crash at all. Between 2011 and 2018, statistics reveal that EVs made up about 7% of all traffic volume on America’s roads. During this same period, though, electric vehicles were involved in only 3% of all crashes.

What do these EV statistics mean? Because EVs make up only a small percentage of vehicles on the road, they are involved in a small percentage of crashes. However, that percentage is even smaller than you might expect based on the number of miles traveled: EVs were less likely, mile by mile, to be involved in an accident. 

Electric Vehicles May Be More Dangerous for Others on the Road

Just because you might be safer when you are in an EV does not mean that electric vehicles enhance the safety of everyone. While no statistics illustrate the risk of electric vehicles crashing into pedestrians, there are statistics regarding hybrid vehicles and those who walk on foot.

Specifically, these statistics show that the chances of a collision between a hybrid and a pedestrian were 39% higher where speed limits were 35 miles per hour or lower. 

When a hybrid was turning or performing some other specific maneuver, the risk of colliding with a pedestrian was nearly 66% greater than the comparable risk of a wreck involving a gas-powered car.

Making Sense of Electric Vehicle Safety

When it comes to driver and passenger safety in electric vehicles, those who choose to ride in these cars are generally safer than the occupants of other vehicles. Not only are there fewer collisions involving EVs, but those that do occur are not as likely to result in injuries to any EV occupant.

This does not mean that EV drivers can be careless. Electric vehicles are heavy vehicles that run quickly but quietly. And collisions involving others, especially those traveling by foot, may not end as favorably as they do for EV drivers.

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