High charging speeds, flammable batteries, hot temperatures, and high voltages – these are all things that concern some people when talking about electric cars. In reality, however, electric cars are just as safe as any other car, because carmakers put them through a strict testing procedure.
Here’s our guide to EV safety and why you shouldn’t worry.
Are electric cars safe when charging?
One of the biggest worries when it comes to electric vehicles is charging. Whether you’re charging from home using a three-pin plug or using a fast charger in public, there’s always concern of it overheating and causing issues.
Can I charge my electric car at home?
Charging your EV with a domestic socket can be dangerous because there’s so much power going through the plug that the house may not be used to it, and this can lead to power outages or issues with your car.
If you have to charge from home, the best way is to get a wall box charger that connects up to your mains power but is safely controlled to reduce any risks.
Can I charge an electric car in the rain?
A common misconception about electric cars is that you can’t charge them in the rain, but this isn’t true. In fact, you’re never going to have an issue charging your EV in wetter weather because the cars are really well-sealed.
Is fast charging an electric car safe?
No harm will be done by fast-charging your EV on a regular basis, provided your car has on-board battery cooling. We would, however, recommend using fast chargers sparingly to maintain the battery’s health.
If you plan on charging your car at home overnight then it would make more sense to use a home wall box, but if you need a quick 30-minute top-up when you’re out and about, then go for a fast charger.
Are electric cars safe in an accident?
All electric cars are built to the same safety standards as petrol and diesel cars, so they are just as safe. In fact, they’re often even safer because they feature really strong structures and industry-leading safety technology because they haven’t been available for as long.
Don’t forget that electric cars are still very heavy, however, so an impact at any speed will probably feel greater than in a lighter car, but until batteries are lighter, they’re going to be heavy.
Do electric cars catch fire easily?
Another big concern with owning an electric car is the risk of fire, because the batteries are highly flammable and therefore could cause an issue. There was a worrying number of electric car fires years ago due to batteries exploding following something known as thermal runaway, in which the battery short-circuits itself, but this has since been resolved for the most part, and it's now a very rare occurrence.
Nowadays, there's the same risk between EVs and petrol and diesel cars when it comes to catching fire following a collision.
Will I hear an electric car coming?
As of July 2019, it became a legal requirement that all new EVs must come with an electronic noise emitter. These are small devices often found behind the front and rear bumpers that generate a sound to warn others of their presence.
The sound is a similar volume to an internal combustion engine when at that speed, and is often heard at lower speeds.