Electric Cars Safer Than Gas?

Nov 26, 2013 02:19 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

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Electric cars could be safer than those powered by gasoline due to their smaller containments of flammable liquid and fewer moving parts, according to an MIT technology review.

While lithium ion battery cars have risks, they may be safer than gas-powered vehicles. Whereas gas is held in a single large tank, electrolyte, the flammable liquid in the battery of electric vehicles, is contained in small packages.

The smaller divisions of electrolyte make it easier to prevent or slow the spread of a fire, said the review. Even during the recent incidents where Tesla Model S cars caught on fire, the blaze was contained in the front part of the car.

Battery-powered cars also don't have to be refueled, so drivers can avoid pumping flammable liquids. Electric vehicles also comprise fewer moving parts than their gasoline counterparts, making for fewer things that can break down. The failure of mechanical parts is often a culprit during fires in gas-powered cars.

Conventional vehicles also run by burning gasoline, deliberating exposing a flammable liquid to a spark.

"The engines run hot. It's a tricky mix to manage," the review notes.

Electric cars have been hailed for their ability to halt pollution and to improve air quality in major cities. Less emissions could reduce death and illness especially in countries like China, which has struggled with emissions in Beijing and other densely populated areas.

Some pollution will still be a side effect of a transition to electric vehicles, which will need to be charged with electricity from power plants. But the pollution from these power plants should be much easier to manage than the emissions from millions of gasoline tailpipes, according to MIT.

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