Why Elon Musk’s Teslas crash more than gas-powered cars

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By Dan Sears

Drivers of gas-powered cars are more likely to get into an accident when they switch to an electric vehicle — because they may not be used to the quirks of getting behind the wheel of battery-powered models, according to a report from an insurance industry expert.

Data insights firm LexisNexis Risk Solutions found that the frequency of insurance claims rose 14.3% while the amount paid out increased 14.5% for those who switched to EVs like a Tesla — which makes up the majority of electric vehicle sales in the US.

The data supports Hertz’s recent move to sell off about 20,000 EVs — about 80% of which were Teslas –because of the high costs associated with repairing the fleet.

The uptick in insurance claims is the highest during the first year after drivers make the switch to an EV, per LexisNexis’ findings, which were first reported by CNN Business.

LexisNexis analyzed insurance claims for new EVs that replaced gas-powered vehicles in American households, CNN reported.

When drivers switch from gas- to battery-powered vehicles, the frequency of insurance claims rises by about 14.3%, according to LexisNexis Risk Solutions. The amount that has to be paid out, meanwhile, increases by 14.5%. VIA REUTERS

It found that though crashes were common in the first year of switching from battery to gas, accidents surged in households with both a gas and an electric model — indicating that regularly switching from one to another compounds the issue.

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In addition, the fact that crash frequency lessens with time also suggests that unfamiliarity has something to do with it, Xiaohui Lu, head of EV research at LexisNexis, told CNN.

Though LexisNexis didn’t point to a specific EV feature that causes a crash, there are some key differences between a Tesla and the typical gas-powered vehicle.

Teslas, for example, turn on and are ready to drive as soon as a person sits in the drivers seat.

Similarly, when the driver gets out, the high-tech vehicle turns itself off.

And since the cars are fully electric, there’s no engine rev or vibration when a Tesla turns on, making it difficult to discern whether the vehicle is ready to drive or not.

Also, Teslas can accelerate at a much faster rate than their gas-powered counterparts, Lu told the outlet.

Teslas are more prone to crashes than their gas-powered counterparts because of their fast acceleration and less need for pedal pressure in low-speed situations, the head of EV research told CNN. AP

Tesla’s Model 3, for example, can reportedly go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 4.1.

The BMW 330i, by comparison, takes more than a second longer to reach that speed.

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However, high speeds aren’t the only concern for Lu, who also pointed to EVs’ quick response to pedal pressure as an issue, according to CNN.

Gas cars starting from a stop generally need more pedal pressure before the car can start moving, as the engine needs to rev a bit, which isn’t the case with an EV, per CNN.

This difference can be dangerous in environments where low speeds are critical, such as in parking garages or lots, or in a traffic jam.

“Most drivers are trained in driving [internal combustion] vehicles and they’re applying the habitual amount of pressure on the driving pedal but the behavior is very different, particularly in low-speed zones,” Lu told the outlet.

It could also be difficult for drivers to get used to EVs so-called “one-pedal driving” feature, which slows the car rapidly when the driver lifts off the accelerator pedal rather than simply allowing it to coast, like in a gas-powered car.

Getting used to using just one pedal for both starting and stopping can lead to confusion in emergency situations when a quick slam on the actual brake pedal is needed, CNN reported.

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Gas-powered vehicles have two pedals, while Teslas have a “one-pedal driving” feature that could prove dangerous when a quick slam on the brake is needed. EPA

EV drivers involved in a crash can also expect their repair bills to be much higher because of their complex features, such as safety sensors in bumpers — which may seem like a luxurious perk when driving but is a costly fix even when it has a minor dent.

Representatives for LexisNexis and Tesla did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.

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