Will an EV's batteries explode?
The Mercedes-Benz EQC all-electric crossover is a big deal for the German automaker. It’s the beginning of a new era. But for an automaker well-known for building safe vehicles, EVs are often seen as uncharted territory. Are the high-voltage systems safe from severe impacts? What about the large batteries? Fortunately, Mercedes has just released details and photos proving its new EQC is safe.
The automaker claims it has the most advanced crash test center in the world and it was here where EQC prototypes were sent to their deaths. Occupants, in this case test dummies, emerged just fine. For example, the EV’s new subframe surrounds the drive components in the front section while the battery is surrounded by a robust frame. Mercedes went as far as installing deformation elements between the frame and the battery, which are capable of absorbing additional forces when there’s a severe side impact.
There’s even a guard in front of the battery to prevent it from being pierced by objects. What’s more, the high-voltage systems can be automatically shut down in a crash if necessary. But what if you’re charging the vehicle at a charging station and another vehicle crashes into your idle EQC? The charging process will automatically be curtailed if an impact is detected. It’s even possible to deactivate the high-voltage system manually if necessary. And, of course, there are the usual safety features such as three-point seat belts, window airbags in the roof between the A, B and C-pillars, and a driver’s knee airbag.
In the past, there have been some concerns regarding EVs and crashes, such as battery liquid leakage. Could that lead to a fire? Hopefully not, but it has happened before with a Tesla Model S. But back to the EQC. As you can see by these photos from Mercedes, the overall structural damage post-crash doesn’t look absolutely terrible. In real life the car would be totaled, but the ultimate goal is to keep passengers alive without serious injury.