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Are Electric Cars Safe?

Electric cars are growing in popularity in the San Diego area and throughout California. While the new technology is certainly good for the environment, as San Diego product liability attorneys, we are becoming increasingly concerned about the safety risks of these vehicles.

Most recently, federal safety officials have launched a probe into whether the lithium-ion batteries used to power electric vehicles are prone to fires. The probe by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was launched after a Volt caught fire following a crash test.

According to experts, if a lithium battery is pierced by steel, a chemical reaction occurs that raises the temperature and can result in a fire. The smaller the piercing, the longer it can take for the fire to happen.

The Associated Press, which learned of the probe from a federal safety regulator, said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will examine the safety of batteries from several makes of electric vehicles, including the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Roadster.

Despite the federal investigation, a rep for GM says the company has done more than 300 hours of testing on the Volt, and the carmaker doesn’t believe the electric vehicle poses any greater risk to drivers than a conventional automobile.

“There are safety protocols for conventional cars,” he explains. “As we develop new technology, we need to ensure that safety protocols match the technology.”

“Safety protocols for electric vehicles are clearly an industry concern. At GM, we have safety protocols to depower the battery of an electric vehicle after a significant crash,” he said. “We are working with other vehicle manufacturers, first responders, tow truck operators, and salvage associations with the goal of implementing industry-wide protocols.”

Source: LA Times