Heavy Electric Vehicles Easily Defeat Guardrails in Recent Testing

7,000-Pound Rivian R1T Breaks Through Steel Guardrail with Ease

Electric cars weigh more than traditional gasoline-powered ones. This is because they need large and heavy battery packs, which are placed in the vehicle’s base and can decrease its overall center of gravity. While this may enhance the car’s maneuverability, it could also pose challenges for current road safety systems, as shown by recent experiments.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln successfully conducted a test on the durability of the Rivian R1T electric pickup truck by propelling it at 60 miles per hour towards a standard steel guardrail. The results were not satisfactory.

EV Crash Test by UNL's Midwest Roadside Safety Facility

The video is truly terrifying, capturing the massive Rivian plowing through the metal guardrail with ease and tearing it to shreds. Despite this obstacle, the electric truck maintained its momentum and proceeded to soar over the concrete barrier positioned behind the guardrail.

The university also conducted testing on a Tesla Model 3, revealing that the barrier was not effective in stopping the sedan. The Model 3 successfully lifted the guardrail and passed underneath it. Further experiments will be carried out on the Midwest Guardrail System, as it has only been tested with vehicles weighing up to 5,000 pounds, a threshold that is surpassed by many electric vehicles.

The weight of the Rivian R1T is slightly above 7,000 lbs. In comparison, the Ford F-150 Lightning, although lighter, still exceeds 6,000 lbs. The Hummer EV surpasses them both at a hefty 9,000 lbs. Even smaller electric vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz EQE sedan exceed 5,000 lbs in weight.

The University is currently leading a research initiative, sponsored by the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center. The main focus of this project is to enhance our road safety infrastructure, while also analyzing potential methods of safeguarding military bases and other government facilities from potential threats. This includes assessing the effectiveness of using large electric vehicles as a means for intruders to bypass security measures.

Each year, over 100,000 cars experience run-off accidents. As the number of electric vehicles on the road increases, it is likely that we will witness a surge in safety infrastructure issues. These tests aim to provide guidance to states on how to effectively safeguard both lightweight gas-powered vehicles and heavy EVs.

Source: University Of Nebraska-Lincoln via Associated Press

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