Battery electric cars are as safe as internal combustion cars.
All cars authorized for use must meet strict safety standards. Electric vehicles (EVs) are no exception. In 2010 the United Nations adopted Regulation 100. It ensures that vehicles with a high-voltage electric power train, such as hybrid and fully electric cars, are as safe as conventional cars.
Special safety systems prevent the risk of fire and electric shock. For example, in a crash the electricity flow from the battery is terminated immediately. Furthermore, the battery is installed in a large, crash-proof block in the underbody, which protects it from deformation. Tests conducted by DEKRA, the European vehicle inspection company, have repeatedly shown that the risk of fire is far lower with an EV than with internal combustion engine (ICE) cars.
The charging process is completely safe at all times and can even be performed in the rain. As with any refueling procedure, it is important to follow instructions established by the carmaker and government authorities.
Studies show safety
Although EV fires receive a lot of attention in the media, research shows they are no more likely to catch fire than ICE cars. A study by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2017 concluded that "the propensity and severity of fires and explosions from the accidental ignition of flammable electrolytic solvents used in Li-ion battery systems are anticipated to be somewhat comparable to or perhaps slightly less than those for gasoline or diesel vehicular fuels."
Tesla claims internal combustion engine cars are about 11 times more likely to catch fire than a Tesla. It says the 300,000 Teslas on the road have been driven a total of 7.5 billion miles, and about 40 fires have been reported. That works out to five fires for every billion miles traveled, compared to 55 fires per billion miles traveled in gasoline cars.