Preliminary test crashes indicate the nation’s guardrail system can’t handle heavy electric vehicles

AP UNE Guardrail Test Heavy EVs 1.31.2024

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

“Guardrails are kind of a safety feature of last resort. I think what you’re seeing here is the real concern with EVs — their weight. There are a lot of new vehicles in this larger-size range coming out in that 7,000-pound range. And that’s a concern.” – Michael Brooks, Executive Director of the Center for Auto Safety.

By Margery A. Beck
January 31, 2024

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Under an overcast sky last fall, engineers with a University of Nebraska road safety facility watched as a electric-powered pickup truck hurtled toward a guardrail installed on the facility’s testing ground on the edge of the local municipal airport.

The test crash was to see how the guardrail — the same type found along tens of thousands of miles of roadway in the United States — would hold up against electric vehicles that can weigh thousands of pounds more than the average gas-powered sedan.

It came as little surprise when the nearly 4-ton 2022 Rivian R1T tore through the metal guardrail and hardly slowed until hitting a concrete barrier yards away on the other side.

“We knew it was going to be an extremely demanding test of the roadside safety system,” said Cody Stolle with the university’s Midwest Roadside Safety Facility. “The system was not made to handle vehicles greater than 5,000 pounds.”

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