Discussion Of Electric Car Safety Concerns -Video


Will an electric car shock you if submerged in water?

Will an electric car shock you if submerged in water?

In addition to the concern of water intrusion and the possibility of being shocked, several other safety-related topics are discussed in this video.

Will an electric car send an electric shock when submerged in water?

A myth has it that electric cars produce an electric shock when it is submerged in water, but is it true? They run on electricity, so it sounds at least plausible. Automakers claim electric vehicles are safe, saying that the circuit breaker would trip immediately when a short circuit is detected. We debunk the popular myth that worries electric car drivers especially on rainy summer days.

Categories: General, Videos


Leave a Reply

16 Comments on "Discussion Of Electric Car Safety Concerns -Video"

newest oldest most voted

In a lightening storm a vehicle is one of the safest places to be since the outer metal frame is a much better conductor than a human body i.e. the electrical current flows around the passengers, not through them. The same holds true for a high voltage battery in a car, if the terminals get wet the current will flow through the metal frame, and pose no danger to passengers inside.

“Inside a car is the safest place to be when lightning strikes” is something we see commonly repeated. But if it’s not a myth, it’s at least an exaggeration.

It would be more accurate to say that you’re probably safe if you are completely inside a fully enclosed car with a full metal frame (not a convertible), and if you are not touching any metal part of the car, such as a door latch or gearshift lever. Unfortunately, more and more use of plastic composites and carbon fiber in modern cars is reducing the protection from lightning.

More info here: “Is a Car Really a Safe Place to Be When Lightning Strikes?”


I guess being in a car is also safer because
It is isolated from the ground by the rubber tires, and a lightning bolt would be attracted elsewhere on the ground.

If a lightning bolt has enough electric potential to fly through a mile of air (which is isolating), it will go through an inch of rubber.

More to the point, if there’s enough electrical potential to jump a spark gap of thousands of feet from a cloud to the car (or vice versa), then the foot or so spark gap from the bottom of the car to the ground is an almost negligible barrier by comparison.

Even airplanes in flight get hit by lightning, and it’s not that rare an occurrence either. Not being grounded does reduce the chance of a lightning hit, but it certainly doesn’t eliminate it.

“A myth has it that electric cars produce an electric shock when it is submerged in water”

That’s not a “myth”. A myth is something which could never be true. This is merely a low-probability event. The circuit breaker could fail or short out.

Highly unlikely, assuming the EV is properly engineered? Yes. Impossible? No. In fact, given enough time and a rapidly growing number of EVs being driven, it’s almost inevitable that it will happen eventually.

But let’s not forget that BEVs are still much safer than gasmobiles. We already have statistics proving that.

“We already have statistics proving that.”

We do? Seems a bit early for that.

Anyway, there are still many things the industry can do to improve security. For example, they could think about a standardized way to mark and/or place the cut-off switch for the high-voltage battery, so emergency responders can find them quickly in case of an accident.

Braben said:

“[Pushmi-Pullyu said:] We already have statistics proving that.”

“We do? Seems a bit early for that.”

Okay, I should have been more specific: We have statistics proving that there is a significantly lower risk of injury or death due to fire in a BEV; a pure EV (Battery Electric Car).

I realize that seems a bit off-topic for an article about the danger (or lack thereof) from electrocution. But we already have enough data to be sure that BEVs are safer in that respect, at least. The thrust of the article seems to be to suggest that riding in a plug-in EV is more dangerous because of the danger of electrocution. My point is that altho there is a very slight — I’d say extremely slight — danger of electrocution, this is greatly outweighed by the significant reduction in a much more common danger, which is death or injury from a car fire.

If we don’t have them, we certainly could… If someone decide to collect them.
There have been something like 1,000,000 electric vehicle sales globally over the last 5 years and they have probably travelled something like 10,000,000,000 miles.
If those are not a big enough samples to collect some meaningful statistics about per mile travelled safety I’d be starting to question the ability of the staticians involved…

Of course there is a risk with electric shock. I just hope that emergency responders are undergoing training on how to handle a serious crash involving and EV.

Mind you ICE cars carry large amounts of highly flammable and explosive gasoline. In comparison, EVs are safer as there is no danger of huge explosions from spilled gasoline.

When I took delivery of my Prius in January 200 the Park Ridge, IL Fire Department was just finishing their training on de-energizing the high-voltage system as part of their first responder vehicle extrication training. The instructor was just starting to put access panels back in place, when my salesman asked if wecould have a peek.
The instructor showed us that the primary ways to de-energize the system was 1) turn off the ignition, 2) disconnect the 12V battery — both methods disconnect the solenoids which close the high-voltage traction circuit. 3) Remove the battery jack which connect the rows of batteries in series to achieve the high voltage. When removed , no battery stack exceeds 24 volts.. They did, however, recommend using a lineman’s glove for removing it.

Oops. That was January 2001

“…huge explosions…” Sorry, but you have been watching too much TV. The danger with PETROL cars – and to a much lesser extent diesel ones – is the post-collison likelihood of a ruptured fuel tank on an ICE car leaking fuel that ignites on hot engine parts or live, damaged electrical circuit components, and then the resulting conflagration consuming trapped persons. The only time you might get an ‘explosion’ is when a fuel tank is pulverised during the collision, spreading a large amount of fuel into the surrounding air and being spontaneously ignited by sparks from metal-on-metal or metal-on-road etc (or electrically as above). What most people interpret as ‘HUGE EXPLOSIONS’ are actually the tyres exploding after the heat from the car-fire has degraded the structural integrity of the tyre(s) to the point where it can’t hold in the air any longer. The additional effect is all that air being suddenly injected into a fire. Kaboom – often more than once (4 tyres…). As to the *real* myth of being electrocuted when the car gets wet,… seriously? You would somehow have to get your body between the battery pack wiring and the water. I simply can’t see a scenario where… Read more »

‘Emerged’ BTW, is a combination of ‘submerged’ and ‘immersed’, should anyone be interested… MW

I was subjected to the same BS when I took delivery of my Prius hybrid in 2001. The claim was quickly dispelled when a woman in Texas was rescued from her Prius when a flash flood overtook her car and engulfed it up to the window sills.
Deliberate disinformation serves no purpose other than undermining the credibility of the source and those foolish enough to repeat it.

The clicking you here when you ev starts are the normally open soliniods closing. These soliniods will only close if the safety system energises them. If something goes wrong the soliniods will open. It’s a fail safe system and, as pointed out above, has worked for years with normal hybrids which also have a high voltage battery. There is very, very, little chance of electric shock.