Large SUVs and pickup trucks that are powered by lithium-ion batteries instead of internal combustion engines are becoming a common sight on roads in Florida and around the country, which is something that worries road safety experts. Electric vehicles may be kind to the environment, but they are also extremely heavy. The GMC Hummer EV tips the scales at more than 9,000 pounds, and its batteries weigh almost as much as a Toyota Corolla.
Heavy vehicles cause deadly accidents
Road safety advocacy groups are concerned about the weight of electric pickup trucks and SUVs because heavy vehicles cause deadly accidents. According to a study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, passenger vehicle occupants are 47% more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident when they are involved in a collision with an SUV or pickup truck that is 1,000 pounds heavier. Trucks and SUVs are particularly dangerous because they have high ride heights and transfer more of their energy to the vehicles they strike.
EVs are fast as well as heavy
The force of an impact is determined by the weight and acceleration of the striking object. When the striking object is an electric SUV or pickup truck, it could be traveling very fast indeed. Electric vehicles like the GMC Hummer EV, Kia EV6 SUV and Rivian R1T pickup truck can reach 60 mph in about three seconds, which is as fast as some exotic sports cars. The threat these electric vehicles pose to other road users is increased even further by near silent motors and soundproofing that insulates their drivers from the world around them and thick A-pillars that create large blind spots.
Auto manufacturers produce vehicles that consumers want, and consumers seem to want large pickup trucks and SUVs. They also like electric power, and this has led to the introduction of incredibly heavy and incredibly fast vehicles that look set to become a major accident hazard. Alternatives to lithium-ion batteries are thought to be years or even decades away, and there is no guarantee that they will be any lighter than current electric vehicle power packs. This means large, heavy and fast electric SUVs and pickup trucks are likely a road safety threat that is here to stay.