If you’re car shopping because a crash has left yours with irreparable damage, you may be considering one of the makes and models of electric vehicles (EVs) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) you’ve seen on the road.
But are these cars as safe as gas-powered or traditional hybrid vehicles? If so, are they significantly different to drive? You’re probably a bit nervous about being behind the wheel again at all, let alone in a completely different type of car.
The good news is that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has given EVs made by Tesla, Ford, Audi, Volvo and other manufacturers their “safety pick” honors. Some have even earned its highest “Top Safety Pick+” award.
Are they very different to drive than cars with an internal combustion engine (ICE)?
They do feel somewhat different, but they just require a bit of practice to get used to. For example:
- Some (but not all) EVs use one pedal for braking and accelerating.
- These vehicles have regenerative braking and multiple levels of braking. They return energy back to recharge the battery, which means more time between the charging station stops.
- They have stronger acceleration than most ICE cars. However, the various “Drive” settings allow you to adjust the amount of power you get when you accelerate.
Like traditional hybrid vehicles, EVs and PHEVs are very quiet. The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has begun requiring EVs to have increased noise levels at low speeds. However, it’s still important to remember that other drivers and pedestrians may not necessarily hear you – particularly if they’re listening to music or otherwise distracted.
If the crash that has you car shopping was caused by a negligent, reckless or impaired driver, don’t settle for less than the compensation you deserve to cover your losses and damages.