All-Electric Nissan LEAF Rear-Ends Bus
The federal investigation into safety concerns related to the Chevy Volt were closed last month, and hopefully will continue to recede in the rear-view mirror. As opposed to the simulated tests conducted on the Volt, real-world accidents involving plug-in cars will begin to create a set of data points about EV safety.
Just last week, Oregon's Yamhill Valley News-Register reported that a 2011 Nissan LEAF collided with a Yamhill-Carlton school bus in the early morning hours of Jan. 31. Fortunately, the school bus was empty and the driver of the LEAF, Robert Hill, suffered only minor injuries.
Oregon State Police were called to the scene and cited Hill for careless driving. It's believed that Hill rear-ended the bus, which was stopped waiting to turn left after traffic cleared.
State troopers report that the LEAF's front and side airbags deployed. Hill was treated for his injuries at the scene. Meanwhile, the driver of the bus escaped injury.
Though Gaston Rural Fire District was on the scene, the heavily damaged Nissan LEAF did not ignite—providing at least one example of a crashed electric vehicle showing zero signs of possible fire. There are nearly 20,000 new plug-in cars on US roads, and unfortunately some of them will be in accidents. Each case will teach us something—and ultimately, the aggregate data from all EV-related accidents will create a sober and realistic accounting of the relative fire safety of an electric car versus vehicles fueled by gasoline or diesel.
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