Just over a week ago we discussed the aspect of electric car safety, specifically that of Neighborhood Electric Vehicles or NEVs, after 47-year old mother Judit Nadal was tragically killed in her Reva G-Wiz in an accident in London, U.K.
Our earlier story was based on initial reports that Mrs Nadal had hit a wall and been thrown clear from the car which split in two in the impact, but it has now been confirmed that her car had collided with a Skoda Octavia on what has been described as a dangerous junction.
Whilst this doesn't detract from the tragedy of the incident, it adds weight to the claims that NEVs can lack even basic safety measures that even the smallest and cheapest of regular cars are given, despite the fact that they share the same roads.
It can be argued, quite rightly, that NEVs are a safe method of transportation, since they have low top speeds and are unable to travel on faster roads where many accidents happen (though statistically the fastest roads, freeways, are also the safest). Many NEVs are used perfectly safely every day by motorists travelling around their neighborhood or used off-road, on farms and private land.
On the public roads however, it is much harder to guarantee your safety even with the utmost care driving around. Mrs Nadal would not have normally travelled the route she took on the night she was killed, as she was on her way to a parents' evening at her child's school.
Mr Nadal confirmed that his wife would not have normally taken the route home, though he told reporters that he has "no concerns about the G-Wiz. I drove that G-Wiz a lot and it's actually a rather safe vehicle".
Although Mrs Nadal's family have commented, notably absent are comments by either the Police (though investigations will be underway) nor Reva themselves. We expect the pressure will be on the Indian maker to explain why the vehicle split apart in the crash.
British car magazine and TV program Top Gear put a G-Wiz in for a European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP) offset 40mph crash test a few years back as the model is not required by law to be submitted for the tests given its "quadricycle" classification. In the U.S, NEVs are required to have 25mph crash tests. As you can see from the video below, it doesn't make for good viewing:
The car was described by Euro NCAP as having significant risk of life-threatening injuries. A comparably small car such as the 2008 Smart ForTwo on the other hand, has gained very impressive results in both European and U.S. crash tests.
The accident is thankfully one of very few reported for NEVs, and this is testament to the usually safe situations in which they are driven due to their usage limitations. A low top speed and city-suitable range (up to 75 miles in the case of the G-Wiz) generally keep them away from higher speed roads and confined to cities where the flow of traffic is often very slow.
However, there is a difference in circumstance between the U.S. and the U.K. Where in the States NEVs are limited to 25mph in areas with a speed limit of 35mph or less effectively limiting them to urban confines, a G-Wiz such as that involved in the U.K. accident has a top speed of between 45 and 50 miles per hour with no speed limit requirements. This means they are more likely to be taken onto larger road networks with increased risk.
We extend our condolences to Mrs Nadal's family.