Crash Test with Electric Cars

The experts at the DEKRA Crash Test Center in Neumünster test whether electric cars fulfill the legal requirements for high-voltage safety.

In Neumünster haben Experten einen Crashtest mit einem Toyota Prius Hybrid durchgeführt. Foto: DEKRA

In 2012: DEKRA gained approval for the Japanese market and is now established as an inspection body. Foto: DEKRA

The sensors are activated, the cameras are running, and the gleaming new car is hurtling ahead. Seconds and a massive crash later, it is unrecognizable – a deformed wreck. The project engineers at the DEKRA Crash Test Center look on, steely eyed. In ensuring technical safety and passenger wellbeing, there’s no space for sympathy for the twisted hunk of metal. Among the experts is David Kreß, an expert in electric vehicles. “For their registration, these vehicles need to fulfill the same passenger safety standards as cars with combustion engines,” he explains. In addition to the legal requirements that all cars registered in Europe must fulfill, electrical vehicles are also subject to regulation UN/ECE-R 100. This defines safety requirements for the electric drives of road vehicles, such as the minimum insulation resistance of high-voltage components and cabling. As European standards are so high, they have also been adopted in countries such as Brazil, China, Japan and Australia.

DEKRA Crashtest electric car from DEKRA on Vimeo.

Tests both for consumer protection and on behalf of car manufacturers or system providers assume usage of an approved high-voltage battery, and are only carried out using whole vehicles. “The vehicles are prepared in accordance with the specification criteria of UN/ECE-R 100. Among other things, we document the shut-down process, in order to see whether the high-voltage of over 200 volts falls to below the legally defined threshold of 60 volts within five seconds,” explains Kreß. In addition, high-voltage components must remain fixed in their installation position in a crash, and the battery itself is only permitted a certain amount of deformation.

DEKRA has been conducting crash tests with e-vehicles for about ten years

DEKRA has been carrying out crash tests with electric vehicles for around ten years. In this time, both battery development and vehicle design have made enormous leaps forwards, recognizes Kreß. In principle, cars conceived from the ground up as full-electric can take advantage of ‘packaging.’ New drive concepts are no longer required to house all the critical components in the front of the vehicle, and may instead install these in the chassis area. This is subject to less impact in a crash, making it a safer option. This also provides a win for passenger safety.

David Kreß, Project Engineer, DEKRA Crash Test Center

David Kreß, Project Engineer, DEKRA Crash Test Center

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