In Part 1, I covered some basic emergency management concepts and discussed how modern connected EVs help with preventing accidents and mitigating the consequences. Now, I’m going to finish the discussion with preparedness, response, and recovery of car accidents and other events.
There are some accidents that simply can’t be prevented or made less harmful. Even when there’s some mitigation, we still must be prepared for the consequences that still made it through to the emergency.
When it comes to crashes, EVs give some key advantages. For one, having instant power on tap instead of having to wait for a combustion engine to rev up or a turbocharger to spool up and make boost (aka “turbo lag”) allows us to power away from some dangerous situations. Often, hitting the brakes is the answer, but sometimes it’s best to get the hell out of a situation to avoid the wreck. Being able to do that is important, and EVs tend to have that ability in spades.
When you do need to stop instead of nailing the accelerator, EVs have you covered there, too. If you have regenerative braking enabled, the car will start to slow down as soon as you lift your foot from the pedal, and you’ll have already lost energy by the time your foot makes it over to the brake pedal and started pushing. That little bit of extra braking and time can be a great tool to be prepared for difficult driving situations.
Outside of wrecks, and into other forms of preparedness, it’s either difficult or impossible to make fuel for a combustion car at home. For gasoline, you might be able to keep some fuel on hand using stabilizer, but that’s a chore and storing large amounts of gasoline can be dangerous. For a diesel, you might be able to make fuel at home from cooking oil, but you’re still needing to get cooking oil.
For an EV? Well, you can charge it at home with home solar. You’ll want battery storage to make sure the system works with the grid down, but it’s worth the effort to store that energy and be able to operate your home and vehicle even after hurricanes or, heaven forbid, a solar EMP catastrophe like the Carrington Event.
Better yet, upcoming vehicles like the Sono Sion and the Aptera have built-in solar to charge the vehicle completely off grid. That might not seem super useful (as it’ll only add 20-40 miles of range per day), but you’ll never see someone with an oil rig, refinery, and gas pump built into their vehicle that can start producing fuel in the parking lot at work.
Also, keep in mind that gas pumps don’t work during power outages, so you’re in the same boat as EV drivers, but EV drivers can work around this with solar at home.
While we probably won’t see a long-term situation where the power grid is down for months or years at a time, being prepared for the power outages that come after storms (which seem to be gaining in intensity and frequency) could make things a lot easier for family and a business after a major disaster. Even if you don’t have home solar, it’s still possible to do 120 volt charging on the larger solar generators, and you can draw power from the car in that circumstance.
Going back to crashes, the connected nature of most modern EVs gives you an edge. Systems like OnStar have been around for decades for combustion cars, but a system that can call for help in the event you’re knocked out after a wreck is more likely to still be working in a heavier car with better crash safety technology.
So, for the response to an accident, an EV might have an edge over a connected combustion car that could make the difference between life and death. I don’t know about you, but I’d like my family to have the best chance possible if I’m laying there messed up and unconscious.
As truly autonomous vehicles roll out, they’ll probably be able to help you with other types of emergencies. If you suffer a loss of blood flow for whatever reason (say, a heart attack or a stroke), you’ll have only like six minutes to get someone to help you before damage starts to become permanent. If you pass out, the vehicle can come to a safe stop, and the vehicle can quickly call for help. That can mean the difference between living and dying, or living with a permanent disability that could have been avoided.
While the car (especially after a wreck) can’t help you recover from car accidents and other more “routine” emergencies, the car can be a big part of helping you and your community recover from major events like storms, hurricanes, and worse things like a solar EMP event.
Being able to drive and carry people, supplies, food, and water in and out of an area without power and fuel can make a big difference for people while power and fuel is restored. If you’ve got a car with solar generation capability (the upcoming Sion and Aptera are great examples), you could even give people power needed to fix things in the community. This means your area needs less resources that could go to other people who don’t have a neighbor with an EV.
Even if your car can’t generate power, it can carry a whole lot of it from either your home solar array if you have one, or from outside of the affected area. Nissan has even experimented with the idea of using a LEAF for self-propelled energy storage and response.
The Bottom Line
If you’re a prepper, or just someone who cares about keeping themselves, their family, their business, and their community safer, a modern connected EV is not only a solution, but in many cases is the solution. An EV can do things no other vehicle can do, and when other cars can do it, the EV usually does a better job.
So, I’d seriously consider getting one.
Featured image by Nissan.
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