1978-02-01

A Projection of the Effects of Electric Vehicles on Highway Accident Statistics 780158

This paper was prepared in connection with a broader study of the opportunities and risks associated with a demonstration program defined by the Congress of the United States in the Electric and Hybrid Research, Development and Demonstration Act of 1976. The paper develops estimates of the number of accidents, injuries, and fatalities which might result from introduction of electric and hybrid vehicles into the general passenger vehicle fleet.In order to derive such an estimate, we have referred to existing accident data banks for small internal combustion engine cars operating primarily in urban areas, and have extrapolated from that data to some assumed electric vehicle populations. In addition, we have considered some particular problems of electric vehicles which might produce new dangers, such as electric shock, battery acid, and low acceleration capability. The desirability of imposing existing or new safety standards on these vehicles is considered.It is concluded that most of the current motor vehicle safety standards would have to be modified or waived in part in order for electric vehicles to satisfy the letter of the law. The preliminary analysis presented here indicates that selected waiving of safety regulations would not significantly increase the probability of serious injury and death in urban applications. Further, it is concluded that the process of developing such regulations at this time specifically for the electric and hybrid vehicles could substantially delay production and increase costs of the vehicles.

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