Let's get the most important part out of the way first. Research studies, even when based on plenty of data, don't necessarily paint a picture of what's going on in the real world and/or in a majority of situations. However, it's interesting to look at the details, ponder them for a bit, and then start a conversation.
That said, a new study performed by Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT), which is one of the largest telematics service providers in the industry, has suggested some very compelling trends related to EV drivers.
Perhaps even more interesting is that CMT provided keynote speaker Ryan McMahon to present the topic, “Electric Drivers: Changes in Driver Behavior,” at a recent IIHS/HLDI event. The event – Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Charging Into an Electrified Future Conference – happened earlier this week.
CMT's study looked at driving risks related to hybrid and electric vehicles in comparison to traditional alternatives. More specifically, it attempted to get a grasp of the risk comparison between these vehicles with a number of variables involved, such as "driver fatigue, vehicle range, distracted driving, and speeding."
The results of the research suggest that electric car drivers have higher risks associated with acceleration, by some 180 to 340 percent over gas-powered cars. However, at the same time, the research showed that Tesla drivers were 50 percent less likely to get into an accident than when driving another car. Ryan McMahon, VP of Strategy for CMT shared:
“These findings include an analysis of Tesla drivers who also operate another vehicle. These drivers are nearly 50% less likely to crash while driving their Tesla than any other vehicle they operate."
Do you think perhaps they value their expensive Tesla and are concerned about keeping it in good condition, so they have an old beater to drive recklessly? Maybe they take it easy to save range in the Tesla? Is the fact that the Tesla could be a newer car with more safety systems come into play? Is the date potentially skewed by the number of miles driven of the type of driving?
Information like this raises plenty of questions, and we don't have the answers. The questions begin to mount when there are comparisons between specific cars and brands. For example, the study also suggested the opposite about Porsche EV drivers. McMahon added:
"We conducted the same analysis on individuals who operate a Porsche and another vehicle. In this case, we observed the opposite effect. Porsche drivers are 55% more likely to crash while driving their Porsche compared to their other vehicle.”
Again, we could list several questions, and we don't have the answers. However, it's important to look into and discuss such studies to get a better understanding. It would probably be safe to say that EVs have the potential to change driver behaviors. Moreover, the changes could be both positive and negative. However, it's something that would be very difficult to prove across the board.
Regardless of the study's findings, we're certainly interested in the topic. Hopefully, more information will be gleaned from the recent keynote speech at the IIHS Conference, which was delivered on May 24, 2022, at 8:15 AM at the IIHS-HLDI Vehicle Research Center in Ruckersville, VA. We'll be on the lookout for more to share. In the meantime, let's start a conversation about this topic and similar research studies.