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American Guardrails Struggle To Contain Heavy EVs: Study

As Ford Authority reported a little over a year ago, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has previously expressed concerns over EVs – specifically, the fact that they tend to weigh considerably more than their traditional ICE counterparts, thanks mostly to their large battery packs. In fact, the battery packs in some EVs weight as much as entire compact cars in some cases, and as the NTSB pointed out, that could eventually lead to an increase in injuries or even deaths on U.S. roadways. Now, a new study from the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln seemingly confirms that fact, at least as it pertains to the effectiveness of guardrails.

Rivian R1T Guardrail Crash Test - Exterior 002 - Front Three Quarters

Conducted in conjunction with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), this new study aimed to discover just how American guardrails stand up to today’s heavy EVs, which is notable given the fact that over 100,000 run-off crashes in the U.S. each year involve those types of barriers. To do this, researchers performed a crash test using a Rivian R1T pickup traveling at 60 mph and a guardrail, with somewhat alarming results.

The 7,000-pound pickup essentially “tore through” the guardrail – which is made from 12-gauge corrugated steel attached to 6-inch deep steel posts – and didn’t slow down much after the fact, which could potentially lead to significant injuries. As such, both the university and the ERDC plan to continue to study this matter, as well as what may need to happen to beef up guardrails to compensate for the increased weight – and impact – of EVs.

“It is critical to conduct these EV baseline comparison tests to understand any potential risks to our nation,” said Genevieve Pezzola, a research civil engineer at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center. “This work is the first necessary step toward ensuring that our nation’s protection measures, such as roadside barrier systems and barriers to protect against hostile vehicles, are adapting to accommodate for the changing composition of the vehicle fleet.”

We’ll have more on the impact of EVs on road safety soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for 24/7 Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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Comments

  1. Shane

    EVs are dangerous, many news articles stating the same. Another reason Americans are boycotting EVs.

    Reply
    1. Alfred

      You think a 6500lb. Superduty is going to be stopped? There are far more Superdutys on the roads than Rivian. You have to have a little more perspective than that. And like everything else that hits the news its blown way out of proportion by people like you that repeat garbage.

      Reply
  2. Thomas Smith

    What the study fails to study is that 1. Many medium duty trucks weigh in the 7,000 + lb range, 2. They do not take into consideration how a larger commercial vehicle or 18 wheeler would fare in such tests.

    Reply
  3. Lincoln

    Well, at least the windshield didn’t break.

    Reply
  4. wjtinfwb

    Geez… thousands of battery cells weigh a lot. Apparently no one in the administration think tanks has ever picked up a 3-cell flashlight. Regardless, it will be the law of unintended consequences that dooms EV’s. Too much downside for hardly any upside.

    Reply
  5. David Dickinson II

    In case we needed yet another reason…. Locally, we have a high concentration of Teslas and the concern is that our parking garages weren’t built for all the additional weight. Scary thought.

    Reply
    1. 19Billitt

      A Tesla weighs about as much as an f-150. Never mind some larger ICS SUV or super duty

      Reply
  6. Cigna

    So these heavy road destroying EVs are now destroying guardrails.

    Reply
    1. 19Billitt

      But you don’t complain about all the Super Duty trucks doing it, but if an EV does it it’s a problem?

      Reply
  7. Rory

    Now, we have another, “Crap, they never told me about that!” revelation re EVs. Even more hidden costs of EVs. All the guard rails, and crash barriers will have to be redesigned/beefed up (wait…I thought that the same folks who want EVs forced upon us also want cattle done away with due to their contribution to climate change).

    Reply
  8. Alfred

    Geez, now its trying to for me to edit my comment? Im out.
    Unsubscribling.

    Reply
    1. John Florer

      Apologize for any inconvenience with the comment section, there is a backend issue that we are tracking down/fixing.

      Reply
  9. John

    Yeah, it seems very random when a comment will actually post here.

    Reply
    1. John Florer

      Apologize for any inconvenience with the comment section, there is a backend issue that we are tracking down/fixing.

      Reply
  10. Blackbelt

    Well that’s one way to make the front of a Rivian less ugly……

    Reply

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