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Are the PHEVs safe?

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One of the major concerns with PHEV is the safety of the vehicle and the passengers.

Usually, a PHEV is safe in normal conditions. The high voltage and a large amount of energy are handled by the PHEVs in the battery pack.

  • However, the safety issues occur during charging in rainy or with wet plug connectors, repairing services of the vehicle, and even during an accident. The electrical system in PHEVs is also unsafe if its mishandled.

With an HV (High voltage) system in your car, It can be hazardous due to electric shock, arcing, and blast. One of the safest ways is to charge PHEVs by plugging them into an electrical outlet with an onboard battery.

  • Mainly the car’s HV system is isolated from the ground and also from the vehicle chassis. An unsafe situation can arise during repairing or service of the car if by mistake the repairer holds both the positive and negative terminal together in the HV system.

Even inductive and wireless charging techniques of the battery reduce the risk of electric shock during vehicle charging. But the charge efficiency also gets reduced and the system cost also increases.

  • Another safety issue is handling the vehicle charging during rainy days with old and worn-out plugs and cables. It can cause current leakage.

Even in extreme conditions. The brain currents can be interrupted leading to a stop heart beating. Hence extra caution is needed for vehicle charging.  

  • Other concerns are with the high-power high voltage connectors that may lead to short circuits during an accident causing sparks or overheating. It may also lead to fire or explosion.
  • Also the concern with installing a battery pack in the PHEVs at the back of the vehicle. It may lead to a rear collision. The added battery packs also can shift the center of gravity of the vehicle causing stability issues during braking.

However, the issues have been addressed with PHEVs being designed to consider the battery weight and not being installed in the crash zone areas. 

Some effective measures designed are safety disconnection devices such as service plugs or even fast fuses for additional safety measures.

Extra precautionary care must be taken for the maintenance or repair of the PHEVs. Insulated gloves are mandatory to avoid electric shock to handle HV systems.

Cable terminals need to be insulated when they get disconnected from the original connection point. Insulated handles for tools and instruments.

In my opinion, the precautionary measures required for any household electrical equipment should be used while handling any electric vehicles. The conditions are almost the same. The measures are even the most important things.

Source:- Hybrid Electric Vehicles by Chris Mi

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