Green cars — in other words, environmentally friendly cars, such as hybrid and electric vehicles — are becoming more prominent on American roads. In 2020, there were nearly 1.8 electric vehicles registered in the U.S., according to the International Energy Agency. The same year, more than 64,300 plug-in hybrids were sold. More varieties of vehicles continue to roll off production lines, such as the Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, which was introduced in spring 2021. Communities continue to install charging stations for electric vehicles; Rio Rancho, for example, is home to six. So, what do you need to know about sharing the road with green cars?
What powers green cars?
Today, the world’s most popular auto manufacturers are producing lines of hybrid and/or fully electric vehicles, including Chevrolet, Honda, and Toyota. The fuels that power green cars can vary widely. Any vehicle that doesn’t operate on fossil fuels qualifies. In the U.S., we’re most likely to see vehicles powered by lithium-ion batteries, or see plug-in or hybrid models. However, green cars can also be powered by compressed air, hydrogen fuel cells, natural gas, ethanol, or even biofuels made from vegetable oils.
What are the benefits of green cars?
There are numerous benefits to owning and driving green cars. Because they are more fuel efficient, can run off of renewable electricity (not gasoline), and release fewer emissions, they are better for the environment. They are known to need less frequent maintenance. Many are eligible for federal tax incentives; however, those tax credits have been phased out over the past few years for early entrants into the market. Although they have yet to be introduced in New Mexico, in some states, green cars can also travel in special highway lanes to avoid traffic.
These vehicles’ efficiency continues to improve. Hybrid cars are averaging over 40 miles to the gallon, while fully electric cars are getting the equivalent of more than 100 miles on a gallon of gasoline. The range for electric vehicles, which require charging between uses, also continues to grow. According to the EPA, EVs have sufficient range to cover a typical household’s daily travel, which is approximately 50 miles on average per day.
Are there any safety concerns with green cars?
In 2011, several Chevrolet Volt batteries exploded during crash tests alarming drivers about the safety of electric vehicles. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration closed its case a year later, observing, “Based on the available data, NHTSA does not believe that Chevy Volts or other electric vehicles pose a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered vehicles. Generally, all vehicles have some risk of fire in the event of a serious crash,” NHTSA concluded. The Volt, along with other electric vehicles, has gone on to achieve five-star crash test ratings for rollover incidents, as well as front, rear, and side collisions.
However, there is one ongoing safety concern regarding these vehicles. Because they are incredibly quiet and don’t emit the same noise traditional vehicles do, hybrid and electric vehicles have a higher incidence of pedestrian and bicyclist crashes. This is particularly true in zones with low-speed limits, during daytime, and in clear weather — all circumstances that normally don’t contribute to many accidents. Hybrid and electric vehicles were also twice as likely to be involved in pedestrian crashes when a vehicle was slowing, stopping, backing up, and/or leaving a parking space — all circumstances when the noise difference between green cars and gas guzzlers is most heightened.
How Sanchez and Piñon Can Help
If you’ve experienced a run in with a green vehicle while walking or biking, contact Sanchez and Piñon, Rio Rancho’s auto accident and injury attorneys, for a free consultation. While other attorneys talk, we listen and provide a personal level of representation. We can discuss how to fight for the compensation you deserve.