Stay Safe in Hybrid and Electric Vehicles

In the history of cars, hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles are still essentially brand-new. With new technology comes a new way to look at transportation. This includes an eye toward safety – anything new in automobiles is going to require a new understanding of how they work, what the dangers are, and how to maintain them in order to continue to stay safe, and extend the life of your vehicle.

What Are the Safety Requirements of a Hybrid or EV?

While safety standards for automobiles of all kinds all fall under the same umbrella, meeting the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards – it can be helpful to understand the specific differences between the types of automobiles. Electric vehicles are also subject to the same safety testing that gas-powered vehicles are, which is beneficial to the average driver.

  • Center of Gravity: Electric vehicles usually have a center of gravity that is lower than standard automobiles, which decreases the likelihood of rollover – they are inherently more stable
  • Batteries: Since the high-voltage batteries in electric vehicles can be anywhere from 100 to 600 volts, they need to be shielded for safety. The shells that surround the batteries are also subjected to testing standards to avoid problems like overheating and fire
  • Power lines: The lines that run power from the batteries to the motor and the rest of an electric vehicle are also high-voltage, and have built-in safety measures which stop the electrical system when a short circuit or collision are detected

How Do I Maintain My Hybrid or EV?

While electric vehicles require some similar maintenance to standard automobiles, such as replacing lights, making sure fluids are sufficient and making sure the body is in workable condition, the new technology does make it so that electric vehicles require less maintenance. Without a combustion engine, there are far fewer parts to maintain, and in general there are fewer fluids to deal with. With hybrids, of course, there are more similarities because you are dealing with both an electric system and a combustion system.

An owner of an electric or hybrid vehicle should be aware of the requirements of maintaining their car’s battery.

  • Electric vehicle batteries have a maximum number of charging cycles that they can go through
  • The batteries are intended to last for the expected vehicle lifetime
  • Many electric vehicle manufacturers offer eight-year/100,000 mile warranties for their batteries, which can be a loose guide for the expected life of the car and battery
  • Some electric vehicle battery systems require a liquid coolant to keep the system from overheating, and this system may need regular checks to make sure you aren’t running low
  • Replacing the battery in an electric vehicle is not a typical expense, and therefore can run a considerable price

The expense of maintaining an electric vehicle overall should, eventually, go down as the technology is more widespread and easier to manufacture. Fortunately, the type of expected maintenance should remain relatively static, meaning it will be easier and likely cheaper to keep your electric or hybrid vehicle in safe, working condition.

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