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High-end EVs are more likely to cause a crash, report says

French insurance firm Axa claims that electric SUVs and luxury cars cause 40% more crashes than internal combustion-powered ones.

High-end EVs are responsible for more crashes in Europe, according to French insurance agency Axa.


One of the most significant sensations when driving a modern electric car for the first time is surprise at how quick it feels, even if it's not something wild like a Tesla 100D. 

The wave of instant torque is a fantastic feeling, but it may be enough of a change from an internal combustion vehicle to catch some drivers off guard, leading to traffic collisions. At least that's what European insurance firm Axa has found in its research, according to a report published Thursday by Reuters.

Axa claims that high-end electric vehicles and SUVs -- such as Teslas or Audi's new E-Tron and Jaguar's I-Pace -- are 40% more likely to cause accidents because drivers aren't used to their unique and intense brand of acceleration.

"Maximum acceleration is available immediately, while it takes a moment for internal combustion engines, even with strong horsepower to reach maximum acceleration," said Bettina Zahnd, head of accident research and prevention for Axa Switzerland, in a statement. "That places new demands on drivers."

Axa is basing its conclusions on its own claims data, which means that, for the rest of us, it's not necessarily something to be taken as gospel, but it is interesting. Further, Axa found that small electric cars like Renault's Twizy or Smart Electric Drive are less likely to be crashed by new owners.

Given the fact that Europe has vastly different roads and driving habits than the US, we'd love to see an organization such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) undertake a similar survey here.

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