Subsidies Should Only Apply to Safe EVs: ANCAP

ANCAP is calling on governments to ensure subsidies and incentives for alternatively powered vehicles are only provided for models offering the highest levels of safety.

“We’re on the cusp of seeing a number of lower-cost EVs arrive in our market,” said Carla Hoorweg, Chief Executive Officer of ANCAP. “Adopting a sensible approach reinforces to the industry – existing and new market entrants – that high levels of safety are expected with any and all new alternative-powered models that are on their radar for potential release into our market.”

For its part, the agency is prioritising the testing and rating of alternatively powered vehicles in its routine star rating programme, adding that ANCAP has seen high levels of safety performance when evaluating the mix of electric, plug-in hybrid, hybrid, and hydrogen-powered vehicle models.

ANCAP has also released a quick-reference consumer guide listing the range of alternative-powered models rated by ANCAP, and a summary of their safety performance.

According to ANCAP, electrified vehicles (including battery electric, fuel cell, and hybrid-electric) are subjected to the same crash protection and crash avoidance tests as other vehicles, although some additional elements are monitored. These include:

  • The output of the high-voltage battery. High voltage batteries are fitted with a safety ‘cut-out’ that rapidly disconnects the battery in the event of a crash. The output is monitored to record if and when this cut-out operates.
  • The vehicle body is checked safely for any high voltage immediately after the crash. If the safety cut-out were to fail and a damaged high-voltage wire was to be in contact with the vehicle body, then a person touching the vehicle could be injured. Test technicians use insulated gloves and stand on a rubber mat to ensure that the vehicle has no high voltages and is safe to touch.
  • The battery is examined for any sign of damage, such as intrusion into the battery unit, leakage of fluids, fire, or abnormal heat.

The agency also seeks rescue cards from vehicle manufacturers each time a vehicle is rated. Rescue cards are designed to assist emergency services personnel in quickly identifying in-vehicle hazards, such as high-voltage batteries, to minimise risk to first responders, and safely free occupants from the vehicle following a crash.

ANCAP said its encouragement of new safety technologies has resulted in economic benefits of more than $440 million from 2019 to 2021 through fewer crashes causing fatalities, serious injuries, and vehicle damage.