Crash Test, Large SUV vs. Family Vehicle, Kia Sorento vs. Kia Forte/IIHS
Electric cars are considered the future of the automotive industry, at least in the near future.
The transition to electric propulsion is accepted as a solution required to reduce the emission of pollutants to prevent the worsening of the climate crisis.
These cars are also agile, quiet, and Israel is one of the countries where the highest penetration rates in the world for streetcars are already registered: a market share of 18% in 2023, one percentage point more than in Germany and almost 3 times than in the USA. In January of this year, their market share had already climbed to more than -23%.
But there is a heavy shadow behind the success of these vehicles, which research bodies are beginning to point out: their heavy weight, and its effect on the safety of other cars on the road. The weight differences between the three sales queens of the Israeli market in recent years clearly express the problem. Toyota Corolla The hybrid, which was the best-selling car in Israel in 2021, weighs 1,450 kg.
The Kia Picanto, which was the best-selling car in 2022, weighs 980 kg. While the BYD Eto 3, which was the best-selling vehicle in 2023, weighs 1,800 kg.
And the meaning?
A comprehensive study by the Belgian VIAS institute published last September and examining accidents involving 300,000 car passengers between 2017 and 2021 shows how great the impact of the heavy vehicles, most of which are now electric, on injuries and deaths in road accidents.
And these are his main findings:
The heavy vehicles: more protected and more dangerous to others
Occupants of heavy vehicles are less likely to be seriously or fatally injured, while other road users are more likely to suffer serious or fatal injuries.
The study found that in a collision between a vehicle weighing 1,600 kg and a lighter vehicle weighing 1,300 kg, the risk of fatal injury decreases by 50% for the occupants of the heavy vehicle but increases by almost 80% for the passengers of the light vehicle.
When the mass is 300 kg heavier, the risk of fatal injury is 30% higher for vulnerable road users.
In the event of an accident between a vehicle weighing 1,000 kg, the typical weight of a small petrol car, and one weighing 2,000 kg, the typical weight of a crossover An electric vehicle such as the Tesla Model Y, Hyundai Ioniq 5 or Skoda Aniac, the occupants of the light vehicle are 3 times more likely to suffer serious injuries.
Greater engine power: more severe damage to the injured vehicle
The passengers in a car with a power of 70 hp more than another vehicle are at a 65% lower risk of suffering fatal injuries than the passengers of the other vehicle. On the other hand, the passengers of a car hit by a vehicle whose engine is about 70 hp more powerful than the average have a 125% higher chance % suffer fatal injuries.
The trams introduced to the market levels of power and performance that were not known before.
Many of them come with engines with a power of 204 hp, almost 50% more than a Corolla.
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High hood: the danger of the pedestrian increases
The risk of fatal injuries to vulnerable road users increases as the height of the hood of the vehicle that hits them increases.
For example, a pedestrian or bicyclist hit by a car with a hood 90 cm high has a 30% higher risk of fatal injury than if a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle with a hood 10 cm lower.
Crossovers and Jeeps have significantly higher hoods than compact and small sedans.
Pickup trucks are safe for their passengers but dangerous for road users
Van occupants are less likely to suffer serious or fatal injuries than private vehicle occupants.
The study found that car occupants are more likely to be seriously or fatally injured in accidents with vans compared to accidents with cars.
The risk of serious injury decreases by 65% for van passengers but increases by 50% for passengers in a vehicle involved in an accident with a van.
For a pedestrian or bicyclist hit by a van, the risk of serious injury increases by 90% and the risk of fatal injury by nearly 200%.
Crash test: a heavy van against a family car.
Beyond the weight disparity, the high hood endangers pedestrians/IIHS
SUVs: safer for their passengers but dangerous for others
SUV occupants are less likely to suffer serious or fatal injuries than vehicle occupants.
Car occupants involved in an accident with an SUV have a higher risk of serious injury.
The risk of serious injury decreases by 25% for SUV occupants but increases by 20% for occupants of a vehicle involved in an accident with an SUV.
The vehicles in 2021: heavier, faster and taller
According to the Belgian study, the average weight of cars increased by almost 30%, from 1,186 kg in 2000 to 1,521 kg in 2021. The average power of cars increased in the same period by 60%, from 88 to 140 S. The average hood height of cars has increased by 15% (from 73 cm to 83 cm).
Attorney Yaniv Yaakov, CEO of the Or Yerok association, says that "the heavier and taller vehicles require Different and different treatment from private vehicles.
Those large and wide vehicles protect their passengers but are dangerous to others and this equation must be changed by increasing safety for private car drivers, motorcyclists and cyclists.
The research data are sharp and clear, therefore it is important to encourage the drivers of these vehicles to install safety systems to protect pedestrians by explaining their importance in reducing the harm of various road users.
Those systems entitle the drivers who install them with a credit point.
It is important to increase awareness among drivers of the thinking of systems that protect pedestrians and cyclists in order to strengthen their safety and reduce the high number of casualties."
Ellen Townsend, policy director of the European Road Safety Council (ETSC), said in response that "the study shows how the push The car industry's relentless push to sell bigger, heavier SUVs is bad news for road safety, especially for those who drive smaller, more efficient vehicles, and vulnerable road users.
This trend is only getting worse with electrification as SUVs also need the heaviest batteries.
It is very important that the European Union, national governments and local authorities push the market towards vehicles that are more fit for purpose and safer for all road users."
Townsend's research and words join the warnings heard last year from the two most important safety institutes in Europe and the US. "Electric vehicles express a worrying trend in consumer demand for heavier, more powerful and taller cars, which not only endanger other drivers but also have a negative impact on the environment.
Of the 11 new cars tested in the current series of crash tests, only three weigh less than two tons, and only one, the Smart 3, is classified as a family car," stated the people of the European crash test, the Euroencap, last November.
Dr. Michael van Ratingen, secretary general of the organization, He noted then: "For years, Euroencap has been accused of increasing the weight of cars.
Think more safety features mean more mass.
This has never really been the case and the increase in vehicle weight we see today is certainly not about safety - it is due to consumer preference for larger vehicles and electrification, with larger and larger batteries being used to assuage consumers' range anxiety.
But this is a trend that does not help either safety or the environment: large and heavy cars are generally less energy efficient than small and light cars, and there is a safety concern when these two types of vehicles collide, or worse, when vulnerable road users are involved."
In March of last year, Raul said Arbeliz, vice president of the IIHS, the Institute for Highway Safety funded by the American insurance companies: "When we started testing electric vehicles for the first time in 2011, we were mainly concerned about the danger of the lithium ion batteries igniting in an accident.
55 crash tests of streetcars and zero fires later, I am worried about the batteries, but about their weight, about the extra weight they bring to the vehicle and its effect on the safety of people on the road, especially those traveling in lighter vehicles as well as pedestrians and cyclists,"
Arbeliz added .
Because "there is a big difference between the first electric vehicle we tested, the 2011 Nissan Leaf, which weighed 1,500 kg, and the current generation of electric vehicles, some of which weigh more than 2,700 kg. These are large off-road vehicles and vans, loaded with power that requires a massive battery.
"When two vehicles collide, the heavier vehicle pushes the lighter one back, and as a result the forces exerted on the occupants of the lighter vehicle are much greater than those exerted on the occupants of the heavier vehicle. Over the years, we have conducted a number of demonstration accidents that combined larger vehicles with smaller ones, to show The impact of size and weight on crashes In two tests in 2018, one with a medium SUV and a small car and another with a large car and a Mini, both small vehicles performed poorly, despite good ratings in our tests, which only reflect the level of safety in a collision with a vehicle of similar weight.
"Assuming that the new generation of heavy duty vehicles are designed to perform well in our crash tests, there is no reason why they cannot provide good protection for their occupants.
In fact, their extra weight will give them more protection in a multiple accident.
Unfortunately, given the way these vehicles are designed today, this increased protection comes at the expense of people in other vehicles.
The lobster van cuts through the security fence like a block of butter
Rivian R1T pickup truck crash test against a standard safety fence/University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Even the US military is worried
The increasing weight of electric vehicles threatens not only other cars, but also the safety infrastructure.
Researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln recently conducted a crash test involving a Rivian R1T electric pickup truck, which weighs approximately 3,175 kg. In the test, which was partially funded and with the participation of the US Army Corps of Engineers, the pickup truck was pushed toward a guardrail at a speed of 60 km/h (96 km "q"), a particularly high cruising speed on a highway even in Israel. To their astonishment, the researchers noticed that the truck barely slowed down after it collided with the barrier.
This was not the first time the university tested an electric vehicle in this way. In 2018, it was a Tesla Model 3 that in a similar test simply picked up the guardrail and passed under it.
"There is some urgency to address this issue," explained Cody Stoll, assistant director of the safety facility at the university who conducted the two experiments. ".
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