Does Temperature Affect Electric Vehicle Performance? Yes, But the Details Matter

Does Temperature Affect Electric Vehicle Performance? Yes, But the Details Matter

2022 Tesla Model 3

Until charging stations are commonplace, owning an electric vehicle will require more planning and preparation than one would expect for a day’s drive. Range is the new MPG, however real-world range isn’t easy to pin down. When the U.S. EPA provides official range ratings, the figures are based on vehicles driving in controlled environments on a predetermined track. EV ownership is full of nuances, and one of the greatest is the affect of weather on range. Let’s explore how electric vehicles perform in cold weather, hot weather, rain and wind. 

Electric Vehicles in Cold Weather

Cold weather reduces EV range, but how much depends on how toasty you keep the cabin. Sub-freezing temperatures reduce range by between 12% and 30%, but that’s without the climate control on to warm the cabin. Data from AAA found that once the heater is turned on, EV range can drop by as much as 41%. Some real-world tests have found range losses closer to 50% with below-zero temperatures. That’s not good if you travel long distances across the northern states or the Interior West. More on specific impacts below.

Electric Vehicles in Hot Weather

Yes, hot weather does reduce EV range. According to research conducted by AAA, hot temperatures don’t have quite as great of an impact as cold temperatures, but it’s still noticeable. In temperatures of 95 degrees Fahrenheit and the air conditioning on, driving range decreases  by 17% on average.

A 17% drop in range would mean that a Model Y normally rated for 330 miles on a charge would get closer to 273 miles. Not too big of a deal. For electric vehicles with less EPA-rated range, it matters more. The standard range 2022 Nissan Leaf normally gets 150 miles on a charge, but that would drop to 124 miles in 95-degree weather. Ouch.

Does Rain Affect EV Range?

Rain, snow and anything else falling from the sky does lower EV range. Why? It creates drag, and EV efficiency is all about aerodynamics. The heavier the rain, the greater the impact on range, even if temperatures are perfect for battery performance.

Speaking of which, what is the ideal temperature for electric vehicle battery performance? Geotab’s analysis of data from 4,200 EVs found that 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21.5 Celsius) is ideal for battery performance. That’s not only perfect for maximum range, it’s great weather all around. Learn more in Geotab’s full report

How Much Does Wind Impact EV Range?

Similarly, wind’s impacts on electric vehicle range have to do with drag. Drag is in essence aerodynamic friction. Your fancy new electric car can’t slide through the air so efficiently with friction working on it. 

Wind can work against you or for you. With a steady tailwind pushing you along, it’s common to exceed range expectations even on the highway. When there’s a substantial headwind, range drops, and sometimes by quite a lot. The impacts of wind on EV range are much more noticeable at highway speeds. It’s possible to gain or lose up to 20% of expected range depending on wind direction.

Weather Impacts Depend on Model and Battery Chemistry

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning

Temperature impacts battery performance differently depending on battery type and overall vehicle engineering. Features such as a heat pump, advanced battery preconditioning and even heated seats are just some of the many ways that engineers can do their best to optimize EV performance in suboptimal weather. 

EV data specialists at Recurrent looked at data from all of the popular electric vehicle models. They found that EV range in hot and cold weather varies widely from one make and model to another. 

Here’s how some of America’s most popular electric vehicles are affected by cold weather and summer heat. 

MakeModelRated RangeReal-World Range (70 deg F)Cold Weather Range Loss
TeslaModel 3353 miles339 miles335 miles (-5% from rated range)
TeslaModel Y330 miles320 miles323 miles (-2% from rated range)
TeslaModel S405 miles397 miles380 miles (-6% from rated range)
TeslaModel X351 miles326 miles326 miles (-7% from rated range)
FordMustang Mach-E305 miles284 miles198 miles (-35% from rated range)
ChevroletBolt259 miles254 miles171 miles (-34% from rated range)
NissanLeaf226 miles237 miles205 miles (-9% from rated range)
HyundaiKona258 miles288 miles240 miles (-7% from rated range)
Audie-tron222 miles224 miles206 miles (-7% from rated range)

For a full breakdown of Recurrent’s findings, check out their 2021 report here

It’s Not Just EVs….

The U.S. Department of Energy says that vehicles powered by traditional internal combustion engines (ICE) also suffer efficiency losses as a result of hot and cold weather. ICE vehicles are especially impacted by hot weather due to air conditioning power requirements. The Department of Energy estimates that ICE vehicles lose about 25% of their typical fuel economy when operating with air conditioning on high settings. 

One major difference between EVs and ICE vehicles is the affect of cold weather. Electric vehicles use quite a bit of energy to run the heater, whereas ICE vehicles redirect heat generated by the engine and therefore avoid significant effects on efficiency. 

Although EV charging stations are becoming commonplace around major cities, many interstate highways have sparse charging infrastructure. Until charging stations are more reliable and easier to find, driving an EV in cold and hot weather will complicate EV ownership and delay EV adoption. A national charging network is on the way, and public fast-charging networks are growing quickly. With EV market share soaring every month, it’s imperative that we find solutions to this seasonal challenge that affects millions. 

Always know what your car is worth.Free YAA instant vehicle valuation.
  • Enter your vehicle details below (all fields required):

What Is a Self-Driving Car? Your Guide to Autonomous Vehicles

What Is a Self-Driving Car? Your Guide to Autonomous Vehicles

2022 Lucid Air
2022 Lucid Air luxury sedan

What does 2022 have in common with the 1939 World’s Fair? It’s the feeling that autonomous vehicles are right around the corner. Nearly every automaker, from Tesla to Ford, has overpromised and underdelivered on their plans for autonomous driving. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said it himself recently in an interview with researcher Lex Fridman. “I thought the self-driving problem would be hard, but it’s harder than I thought. I thought it would be very hard, but it was even harder than that,” Musk reflected. He’s not the only one to misjudge the enormity of the task at hand. You’d think automakers would stop giving themselves deadlines that are destined for letdowns. 

It turns out that there’s been one overarching theme in the learnings from the past decade of development. Engineers now see that in order for self-driving cars to be safe and successful, cars will have to learn to think like a human. Computers are exceedingly good at performing repetitive tasks. What they’re not great at is responding to unique situations full of unknowns. The human brain is more capable than some give it credit for. We’re very good at dealing with unknowns and making complex decisions on the fly. 

After reading this article, you’ll better understand what self driving cars are, the difference between self-driving cars and autonomous vehicles, and the terms and jargon associated with self-driving cars. Let’s dive in. 

What Is a Self-Driving Car?

2022 Tesla Model 3
2022 Tesla Model 3 Updates

As you’re soon about to learn, the world of autonomous cars and self-driving technology is full of terms worth defining. For starters, what is self-driving in the world of transportation? Self-driving cars can drive in some or even all situations without driver input, but a human must always be ready to take control. Think of them as a crucial stepping stone on the path to full autonomy.

Self-driving cars are not fully autonomous. In the world of professional engineering, ‘automation’ is the preferred term for the sliding scale of vehicle operation status. In fact, the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) refrains from using the term “self-driving” at all, and most engineers disagree with the use of the term. Let’s dive into the terms and definitions that relate to so-called self-driving cars, and the future of automation as a whole. 

Terms and Definitions: A Self-Driving Primer

First, let’s clear the confusion. Talking about automated cars warrants a glossary of its own. Being well-informed is the key to knowledge, and we all know knowledge is power. Here’s a list of the terminology you’re likely to encounter in a self-driving world. In most cases, the difference is in the finest of details. 

Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS)

These are technological features designed to improve driving safety. These software-based systems improve a driver’s ability to react to adverse situations on the road. Examples include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and lane departure warning. ADAS features are very common in newer car models. 

Autonomous or Automated Vehicle

This term is thrown around a lot, but a true autonomous vehicle is capable of sensing its environment and operating without human involvement. Human passengers can take their eyes off the road and just enjoy the ride. Imagine entering the destination address, and that’s it. Autonomous vehicles can do everything that an attentive human driver can do. 


Usually referring to Tesla Autopilot, which is a suite of ADAS features that enable the vehicle to steer within a lane and adjust speed in response to surrounding traffic. It’s essentially adaptive cruise control plus lane centering. Autopilot is standard on all new Tesla models.

Full Self-Driving

Tesla “Full Self-Driving” in its current iteration is not much different from driver assistance technologies. Tesla enthusiasts, relax. That’s likely to change as Tesla updates the software regularly via over-the-air updates that simply require WiFi to install. Automotive engineers generally refrain from using this term altogether, as it’s more associated with marketing than with engineering automation. A true full self-driving car can navigate roads with human supervision. Tesla’s program is getting close, but as thousands of videos online will show you, Tesla FSD is not quite there yet. It is impressive though. Tesla FSD can be yours (someday) for an additional $12,000 when you buy a new Tesla vehicle.


This is when a vehicle’s operation is limited to a restricted geographic area. For example, Waymo’s driverless vehicles are geofenced to only operate in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Geofenced autonomous vehicles will grow in popularity before true, independent autonomous vehicles put rubber on public roads.


Light Detection and Ranging. LiDAR is the go-to ‘radar’ technology for nearly all self-driving innovators. Except of course for Tesla, who seems to think image processing with cameras is the way to go. LiDAR can ‘see’ through low visibility conditions, including fog and heavy rain.

Self-Driving Vehicle

When a vehicle can perform most driving tasks in a geofenced area, but with constant human monitoring and intervention when needed, some in the automotive industry consider it to be self-driving. The degree of human input varies. More on that below…

The Six Levels of Automation

2022 Tesla Lineup
2022 Tesla lineup

But wait, there’s more! Engineers rate the levels of automation based on how independently the system can perform tasks, and how much human input and supervision is required. Here are the basics of the five levels of automation, according to the Society of Automotive Engineers.

  • Level Zero – Limited to warnings and brief takeover of vehicle control. Ex: auto emergency braking, blind spot warning, lane departure warning
  • Level One – Steering OR acceleration/braking. Ex: lane centering OR adaptive cruise control
  • Level Two – Provides both steering AND acceleration/braking. Ex: lane centering AND adaptive cruise control
  • Level Three – The car can drive independently under certain conditions. Ex: automated driving at slow speeds
  • Level Four –  Geofenced automated driving; steering wheel optional. Ex: Waymo’s local driverless taxi
  • Level Five – The autonomous vehicle can operate anywhere without driver input or attention

Now that we’ve covered the engineering and industry jargon, let’s revisit our definition. 

What exactly is self-driving technology? The most agreeable definition is that self-driving cars fall within level 3 or level 4 automation, in which the vehicle can perform most driving tasks in a geofenced area, but with constant human monitoring and intervention when needed. Fully autonomous vehicles fall within the ultimate frontier of automotive engineering, Level 5. A true autonomous vehicle can operate from start to finish without driver input or attention. Imagine reading a book or taking a nap on your way to work.

Are There Any Self-Driving Cars Today?

No cars on today’s roads are capable of fully autonomous driving. Automated driving remains years away, however tremendous resources are committed to the cause of unraveling the ultimate challenge in automotive engineering. Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features are branded as Level 2 systems, which means that constant supervision is required, and intervention is to be expected. This discrepancy between the Level 2 classification of Tesla’s driver assistance systems and the names of the products remains the source of much controversy among engineers and driver safety advocates alike. Can’t we all agree that honest advertising is always in the interest of safety and responsibility?

Aside from automakers, there are dozens of other companies innovating in the autonomous driving space. Waymo, Argo AI and Cruise are all putting geofenced autonomous cars on the road today for real-world testing and limited customer use for ride-hailing. What is a self-driving car in 2022? It’s likely a prototype with limited use.

What’s Next?

Tesla is the clear leader in advanced driver assistance systems. However, the extent of Tesla’s lead among industry competitors is not nearly as clear as it was a few years ago. Tesla has taken a bold step away from using radar for sensory inputs. The decision to remove LiDAR from new Tesla models starting in 2020 was so controversial that some senior engineers quit in protest. 

2022 Mercedes EQS , a self-driving car of the future
2022 Mercedes EQS

Remarkably, Tesla is no longer the only automaker breaking autonomy barriers. In 2021, Mercedes-Benz became the very first automaker to get regulatory approval for Level 3 autonomous driving on limited public roads. For now, Mercedes Drive Pilot is available on 8,197 miles of German highways at speeds up to 37 miles per hour. What makes Mercedes Drive Pilot so special is that it is the first approved consumer-ready system to permit the driver to take their attention away from the road while the vehicle is in motion. Even Tesla’s Full Self-Driving feature does not permit the driver to direct their attention elsewhere, despite evidence of the contrary on social media.

Level 2 For Now

For the foreseeable future, American roads will see even more Level 2 driver assistance systems calculating their way through traffic as nearly every automaker in the market steps up their autonomy game. Level 3 remains in development, even for Tesla. Mercedes has not announced if it will seek approval in the US anytime soon, likely due to the murky regulatory environment.

Fully automated driving is likely in our future, but no one knows when it will be safe and accessible to all. The pace of innovation ebbs and flows. Engineers, regulatory agencies and insurance companies have some hard problems to solve. For now, proceed with caution when at the wheel of a “self-driving” vehicle. Their arrival is a great reason to look twice when crossing the street. You never know who (or what) might be coming around the corner.

YAA Just Launched a New Search Engine to Make Buying Your Next Car Easier!

We have thousands of vehicles listed today. Each listing includes industry insights, empowering data and the true TotalPrice that will make buying a car the transparent process it should’ve always been. We show you what dealers don’t want you to know. We believe that data can be your superpower when buying a car. Check it out here!

Always know what your car is worth.Free YAA instant vehicle valuation.
  • Enter your vehicle details below (all fields required):

Another Tesla Recall: Goodbye Tesla Boombox?

Another Tesla Recall: Goodbye Tesla Boombox?

2022 Tesla Model Y
2022 Tesla Model Y

The word “recall” sure is thrown around loosely these days. By now, you likely know that Tesla fixes the vast majority of recalls with an over-the-air software update. In the tenth recall in just four months, Tesla is addressing a pedestrian safety concern brought up by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

During the 2020 holiday season, Tesla sent a gift of sorts to all of their customers. The cars received an update that turned the external speakers into a boombox. The Tesla Boombox can play a number of customizable sounds (music, jokes, fart noises…) out of the same speakers that are meant to alert pedestrians of the approaching, silent electric car. It’s the customizable feature that seems to be at the center of this recall. Under certain circumstances, the Boombox can disrupt the federally-mandated pedestrian warning risk sounds. 

Always know what your car is worth.Free YAA instant vehicle valuation.
  • Enter your vehicle details below (all fields required):

No Need For a Service Center Visit

In typical Tesla fashion, the pioneering automaker will push an over-the-air update to all of the affected cars. Tesla cars just need a WiFi connection to receive these frequent updates. Some OTA updates even increase performance or battery life. 

Check out Tesla’s official response to the NHTSA investigation here. It’s interesting to observe the automaker interacting with the federal agency that is always on their case. Here’s how simple the Tesla Boombox recall remedy is:

Tesla will perform an over-the-air (OTA) software update that will disable the Boombox functionality when the vehicle is in Drive, Neutral and Reverse modes, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed April 5, 2022.”

Tesla Boombox will only work in Park mode it seems. Perhaps that was common sense all along? Tesla’s engineers typically work quickly to send such urgent recall fixes over-the-air. While the notice says that owners will receive notices by mail in April, it’s very likely that the remedy will update cars much sooner. 

The Tesla Advantage

2022 Tesla Lineup
The 2022 Tesla Lineup

Lots of people aren’t fans of Tesla for one reason or another. However the EV pioneer does have an undeniable advantage when it comes to updating their vehicles. With well over 2 million Tesla vehicles on the road today, OTA updates are a key selling point for car buyers in the electric vehicle market. Other automakers are rushing to implement the capability in their future models, as seen by recent announcements from GM, Ford and literally every EV startup today. 

We recently took a deep dive into over-the-air updates, and shared automaker plans for adding the feature to their lineups. Learn more about OTA update capabilities.

Let us know what you think in the comments. Does the Tesla Boombox recall make sense? Would you buy a Tesla? Does OTA update capability factor into your decision?

Tesla Recalls 817,000 Vehicles, Yet Retains a Major Advantage

Tesla Recalls 817,000 Vehicles, Yet Retains a Major Advantage

2022 Tesla Model 3

As the South Korea Automobile and Research Testing Institute was running new Tesla models through routine tests, engineers noticed a problem. Under certain conditions, the chime for not wearing a seatbelt would not activate. Specifically, if the chime was interrupted during the previous driving cycle, the chime would not sound if the seatbelt was not buckled during the next vehicle start. Tesla says the seatbelt chime still functions properly over 14 mph. In typical Tesla fashion, this Tesla recall has an easy fix for drivers.

Always know what your car is worth.Free YAA instant vehicle valuation.
  • Enter your vehicle details below (all fields required):

Automotive News reports that the recall affects 817,000 Teslas, including some 2021-2022 Model S and Model X, 2017-2022 Model 3, and 2020-2022 Model Y vehicles. Considering that only 24,964 of the 936,172 vehicles Tesla sold in 2021 were Models S or X, the vast majority of the recalled vehicles are Model 3 and Model Y. 

Not a Big Deal?

2022 Tesla Model 3

A recall affecting nearly one million vehicles would cripple most automakers. Tesla is shrugging it off with an over-the-air software fix. With the launch of the Model S back in 2012, Tesla was the first automaker to design and produce vehicles with full OTA update capabilities. Tesla doesn’t just update infotainment remotely like the competitors are just now getting around to. They regularly update powertrain dynamics, battery performance and just about everything except the rubber on the wheels. 

For this ‘massive’ recall, there will likely not be a single trip to a Tesla service center. Tesla owners will receive a notification about a needed software update, and with Wi-Fi connectivity, the car will fix itself. These really are driving computers that can go 0-60 in two seconds.

GM, Ford, Volkswagen and just about everyone else in the industry are now equipping new models with over-the-air update capabilities. However, it will be a few years before these automakers are able to send OTA updates to customers that go beyond infotainment and navigation. For years, legacy talking heads like Bob Lutz dismissed Tesla’s staying power. Now, it seems they’re frantically racing to catch up. 

Is Tesla too far ahead of the rest? Will other automakers succeed at bringing OTA capabilities to their lineup? How does the consumer factor into all of this? Let us know in the comments below, and see what others have to say at

Electric Car Safety: Here’s What the Data Reveals

Electric Car Safety: Here’s What the Data Reveals

Model 3 crash test

Your opinion of electric vehicles likely depends on which side of the news you’ve seen. If you know anything about the Chevy Bolt hazard, you might even scurry to the other side of the street when you encounter one. But does the data support EV skepticism, or is the big picture something different altogether? Do we even have enough data to draw firm conclusions? It’s important to get down to the facts, and that’s our goal today. Here’s what crash test ratings, vehicle fire statistics and real-world data can tell us about electric car safety in 2022.

EV Crash Test Ratings

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conduct standardized crash testing for vehicles that possess the potential to become popular and sell in big numbers. If it’s popular, they’re going to crash it and collect data. These two crash testing programs don’t treat electric vehicles any differently than they would a traditional combustion-powered vehicle. 

Always know what your car is worth.Free YAA instant vehicle valuation.
  • Enter your vehicle details below (all fields required):

As a refresher, here are the crash tests conducted by the NHTSA and IIHS:

  • Frontal Crash Test
  • Side Pole Crash Test
  • Side Barrier Crash Test
  • Rollover Resistance Test

The following additional tests are conducted by the IIHS:

  • Moderate-Overlap Front
  • Driver’s-Side Small-Overlap Front
  • Passenger-Side Small-Overlap Front
  • Side Impact
  • Roof Strength
  • Head Restraints
Volkswagen ID.4 crash test

How do electric vehicles perform in these crash tests? Take a look at the limited data we have.

EV crash test ratings

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) does not provide overall ratings. They instead provide dozens of ratings for many different safety metrics. You can check out their ratings here.

Takeaways From Crash Test Results

Model Y crash test

This data from the NHTSA and IIHS shows that while data is limited (but growing), all EVs tested so far have received excellent solid ratings. In fact, all eight electric models tested by the NHTSA in 2021-2022 earned five-star ratings. Considering that over 70% of EVs sold in the US are Tesla models, these ratings do represent the vast majority of EVs on American roads today. Still, far more testing is needed with so many electric models coming in 2022

The IIHS sees the trends in their own data: EVs are actually making passenger vehicles safer than ever before. In a 2021 IIHS report on electric vehicle safety, they shared what they’ve learned so far.

Evidence is growing that electric vehicles are at least as safe as conventional ones, with two more vehicles that run exclusively on battery power earning safety awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In addition, an updated analysis of insurance data shows injury claims are substantially less frequent for such vehicles.”

Those are powerful words from an insurance-minded crash-tester. We definitely need more electric car safety testing. EV sales made up 6.5% of American auto sales in 2021, and that figure is expected to reach or exceed 40% by 2030. One useful safety test would be comparing how long it takes to extinguish a fire for each EV model. I’d love to see that testing implemented for the safety and preparedness of our first responders. 

Are EV Batteries Safe?

Whether you prefer a vehicle that requires gasoline, diesel or battery packs, all vehicles are built to haul around what are essentially concentrated energy sources. That’s how the vehicle converts potential energy in the form of combustible carbon or electrons into kinetic energy to get you from A to B. The latest and greatest battery chemistries pack more power than ever before into battery cells, but they also claim to be safer. However, any concentrated energy source is volatile under certain conditions. That’s why we don’t light matches at the gas pump. What about EV batteries? Are they a fire hazard worthy of extraordinary caution?

The YAA team recently dug deep into the latest EV battery fires that have made the news, and our findings certainly shed light on the facts. Here’s a summary of what the data and engineering investigations featured in our EV battery fire report reveal.

Firefighting and DOT Fire Stats

Data compiled by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the US Department of Transportation shows that among all vehicle types, there’s an average of one vehicle fire per 19 million miles driven. Both the NFPA and the Center for Auto Safety say there is not yet a centralized database for electric vehicle fire statistics. In an effort to address the lack of information surrounding EV battery fires, Tesla decided to begin releasing statistics in their annual impact reports.

Data From Tesla

Tesla’s 2020 Impact Report says that from 2012-2020, there’s been one Tesla fire per 205 million miles traveled. The fact that Tesla models made up 79% of American EV sales in 2020 highlights the relevance of their data. Unfortunately, other automakers haven’t released comparable data (we’re looking at you GM!). We’re hopeful that will change soon.

Electric car safety - Tesla fire data

Source: Tesla

This comparison doesn’t hide the fact that one other EV model has had major problems. The ongoing Chevrolet Bolt recall is costing GM and battery supplier LG a few billion dollars to resolve. There have also been sporadic incidents with other EVs. The Hyundai Kona briefly made headlines with multiple fires, but a fix was quickly implemented. It seems like every Tesla fire makes it into the news, even though there are not many. 

Despite the statistics showing just how rare and isolated the events are, EV fires are real, and every one is worthy of proper investigation. The same goes for any vehicle fire. 

Electric Vehicle Fire Hazards: First Responders

Electric Silverado electric car safety
2024 Silverado EV WT

Although Tesla’s data suggests that EVs are less prone to car fires than combustion vehicles, there are major safety concerns for the firefighters who extinguish the flames when an EV fire does occur. Firefighters need special training to learn how to safely approach EV-related incidents, but only two-thirds of departments have had the opportunity due to funding constraints. Automakers need to come forward and support our first responders with training and resources to prepare for the electrification of the auto industry.

EV fires require A LOT more water to extinguish. Tesla’s First Responders Guide recommends 3,000 to 8,000 gallons of water on hand to put out a Tesla fire. Some fires have needed 30,000 gallons of water to extinguish. Basically, firefighters have to do whatever it takes to cool down the battery, and that’s really hard to do with so much energy densely packed into the pack. Once the fire appears fully extinguished, there’s a chance it could still flare up, even days later. Towing services and junkyards are advised to park damaged electric vehicles at least 50 feet from other vehicles in the yard. As EVs become more popular, that might not be feasible in just a few years.

EV Unintended Acceleration: What We Know

When cars launch full-speed ahead without warning, we have a major problem. Fortunately, that has not been proven to have occurred following dozens of investigations over the years. A number of serious accidents involving EVs have resulted in drivers claiming that the car accelerated on its own. Tesla vehicles have faced these accusations for years, but investigations have never found evidence of unintended acceleration. Plus, Tesla EVs are computers on wheels, and they maintain very detailed logs of all driver inputs. These logs are thoroughly inspected in every investigation. 

The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determined that reports of sudden unintended acceleration involving four different Tesla models were due to user error. In other words, the driver mistakenly smashed the accelerator pedal. With so much torque and instant feedback, that’s enough to launch a Tesla like a rocket. Depending on where that rocket is aimed, it could go launching right into harm’s way. The lesson here? Powerful EVs demand more attention than some drivers are used to. Electric car safety features can only go so far if drivers are careless or over confident.

Hyundai recently recalled 2,700 2017-2019 Ioniq electric vehicles (the generation prior to the all-new Hyundai IONIQ 5) to correct a rare but scary defect that may cause the Ioniq to accelerate after the driver releases the accelerator pedal when in ‘limp mode.’ With no accidents reported, it appears as though Hyundai got ahead of this issue before anything tragic happened. As far as we (and the US government) know, no EVs have accelerated on their own without driver input. 

Tesla Autopilot Safety

2022 Tesla Model Y electric car safety

This is another headline grabber for Tesla. Anytime there’s a crash involving a Tesla on autopilot, it’s sure to make the news. Tesla Autopilot certainly has its faults, notably ‘phantom braking’ and difficulties with poor visibility. However, Tesla keeps track of their accident data from all Tesla vehicles worldwide, and this is what they’ve found as of December 2021:

In the 4th quarter, we recorded one crash for every 4.31 million miles driven in which drivers were using Autopilot technology (Autosteer and active safety features). For drivers who were not using Autopilot technology (no Autosteer and active safety features), we recorded one crash for every 1.59 million miles driven. By comparison, NHTSA’s most recent data shows that in the United States there is an automobile crash every 484,000 miles.”

Although this is not independently verified, it’s intriguing data to say the least. Could Tesla Autopilot really be safer than human drivers? Considering that 15% of motor vehicle accidents in the US are attributed to driver distraction, it may not be all that surprising. More automakers are offering level 2 autonomous driving features. As Autopilot-like technology increases, electric car safety will be under the microscope. Learn more about Tesla’s annual safety report here

YAA’s Take

Our goal at YAA is to provide you with factual information that’s useful for your decision-making process as you consider your next vehicle purchase. Why do we cover EVs so intently? Because industry insights show that major automakers are dead set on electrifying their entire lineups by 2035 at the latest. From Ford to GM and everyone in between, the story is the same. With hundreds of billions of dollars going towards EV development, it’s important to hold automakers accountable with such a nascent technology. 

Over 2 million EVs are already on American roads and global EV sales totaled 4.5 million in 2021 alone. This is just the beginning. Sales of electric vehicles are expected to rise 75% to more than 8 million in 2022. Electric car safety is more important than ever. Are EVs safe? So far, it looks like electric vehicles are at least as safe as combustion vehicles. But when things go awry, EV fires are far more difficult to extinguish than what we’ve seen in the past, and that’s a concern worth addressing promptly at all costs. If you’re thinking about going electric for your next vehicle purchase, rest assured that EVs from Tesla, Ford, Volkswagen, Hyundai-Kia and others are ranked up there with the very best in the entire industry. 

YAA Just Launched a New Search Engine to Make Buying Your Next Car Easier!

We have thousands of EVs (and other vehicles) listed today. Each listing includes industry insights, empowering data and the true TotalPrice that will make buying a car the transparent process it should’ve always been. Check it out here!