The auto industry is getting greener by building electric vehicles, but many fear the shift to electric vehicles will make the roads more dangerous than ever. Electric trucks are heavy and could be more dangerous than regular trucks.
I recently wrote an article titled “The Electric Truck Problem No One is Talking About” with some key talking points about electric vehicles. It was well received, but the answer I got the most was that the bigger issue is the weight, which makes them rolling killer machines.
A prime example is the new GMC Hummer EV, which weighs in at over 9,000 pounds, which is significantly heavier than the 4,900-pound gas-powered Hummer the company last released in 2010. It’s big, heavy and, more importantly, extremely fast. It’s potentially a big issue and something Bloomberg addressed earlier this year. How dangerous are electric trucks?
Roads are already unsafe
Before we start talking about electric vehicles, I just wanted to mention that the roads in the US are already unsafe. Pedestrian deaths and fatal accidents have been increasing annually for more than a decade, so this is not a new problem.
Besides the Governor’s Road Safety Association (GHSA) recently confirmed that in the first half of 2021, pedestrian deaths increased by 17%. That’s over 500 more deaths compared to 2020 and an absolutely horrifying statistic.
That’s not from electric vehicles either. This is coming from unsafe drivers in big American trucks and SUVs, and those vehicles are getting bigger. Trucks are the best-selling vehicles in the US, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. They’re also more difficult to drive, don’t stop as quickly as cars, and have large blind spots in front of the oversized hoods.
And unfortunately, with increasing electrification, they are all getting bigger and faster. It’s a recipe for disaster.
How much do electric vehicles weigh?
After a little research, most current or soon to be available electric vehicles weigh under 5,000 pounds. And while that’s between 10% and 30% heavier than gas-powered counterparts, it’s still less than a typical gas-powered F-150 or Chevy Silverado.
I’m talking about the Mustang Mach-E, the Audi e-Tron or even the new Hyundai IONIQ 5. These electric cars weigh more than a petrol version, but the change is not particularly dangerous. That’s because manufacturers have equipped them with safer driving technology, improved braking, collision avoidance, and lots of brakes that stop faster than petrol vehicles.
Electric cars are not the problem. Fast electric trucks are the problem. For example, the new Ford F-150 Lightning EV weighs almost 6,600 pounds, while the average regular F-150 weighs around 4,700 pounds. see the difference Ford’s new electric truck is incredibly fast and at the same time significantly heavier.
Here’s what some electric vehicles and their gasoline equivalents weigh:
- Regular Ford F-150 4×4 – 5,000 pounds
- Ford F-150 Lightning (standard range) – 6,171 lbs
- Ford F-150 Lightning (extended range) – 6,590 pounds
- Tesla Model 3 – 3,900 lbs
- Hyundai IONIQ 5 – 4,400 lbs
- Rivian R1T Truck – 6,700 pounds
- Silverado E – unknown (probably over 7,500 lbs)
- GMC Hummer EV – 9,046 pounds
- 2018 F-350 Dual (Diesel) – 8,060 lbs
I’ve thrown the last one in the list for reference only. Heavy trucks are nothing new, especially when you consider some of the old heavy metal trucks from several decades ago. So while the weight of electric trucks is an issue, perhaps the bigger issue is trying to make them as fast as possible.
Can you imagine a massive F-350 Super Duty XLT Dually accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in just 3 seconds? That’s how fast the 9,000-pound GMC Hummer EV goes, and it’s terrifying.
Electric trucks are safe for the driver
From what we’ve seen so far, electric cars and trucks are pretty safe as long as you’re the one driving. Every automaker these days is adding all kinds of cameras, sensors, safe driving technology, lane assist, collision avoidance, regenerative braking that makes cars slow down faster, and I could go on and on.
EVs have a low center of gravity, all of the battery cell weight is on the bottom making them less likely to roll, and they are heavier than most vehicles on the road. As a result, you are safer in an accident in an electric vehicle than in a conventional small car.
According to the Insurance Institute for Road Safety (IIHS) electric vehicles are fairly safe and potentially safer than gasoline vehicles. Additionally, a recent study conducted by NHTSA concluded that the likelihood of passengers being injured in an electric vehicle accident is indeed high lower than petrol vehicles.
Speed (and people) are the real threat
It’s easy to see why many people are concerned about big and fast electric trucks. They’re bigger than anything else on the road, heavier, and capable of accelerating to speeds once reserved for expensive, limited-edition sports cars.
However, vehicles have always come in fast variants, heavy cars are everywhere today and there will always be reckless drivers on the roads. The problem, however, is that electric vehicles combine most of them in one vehicle. Just because manufacturers can make a truck go from 0 to 60 in three seconds doesn’t mean they should. Do we really have to go that fast? No, no, we don’t.
This all boils down to people eventually speeding in huge trucks that are about to take over the streets and highways. Several exciting electric trucks are available now or coming soon including the Hummer EV, Rivian R1T, F-150 Lightning, Silverado EV, RAM 1500 EV and more.
We’re not sure what the future holds, but this could be a big problem for the future. Within the next 2-3 years we will likely see thousands if not millions of massive 6,500 pound electric trucks and SUVs on the roads.
How that translates into traffic accidents and fatalities is something we need to keep an eye on and consider. That applies to everyone from consumers and lawmakers to manufacturers like GM, Tesla and Ford.
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