Electric cars 'as safe as petrol or diesel'

In a poll conducted by TheGreenCarWebsite.co.uk, 84 per cent of UK drivers admitted electric cars are at least as safe as petrol or diesel models.

In fact, over a third (39 per cent) actually said electric cars were safer than their fossil fuel counterparts, according to the poll.

The news is good for the likes of Renault, whose new Zoe supermini goes on sale this year for just £13,000.

Electric cars have been criticised because of perceived problems over battery safety but the website has now labelled these stories ‘groundless’ and created in order to ruin the reputation of electric cars.

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Electric cars in the UK, including the European Car of the Year 2012, the Vauxhall Ampera extended-range electric vehicle, are all tested by EuroNCAP, Europe’s premier new car safety organisation.

EuroNCAP gives cars a rating out of five stars, with five-star cars well above the official safety criteria for UK roads.

The strict tests were made more difficult for electric cars with a separate test for electric car batteries and their reaction to a crash.

Despite this, cars such as the Nissan Leaf and Vauxhall Ampera scored a five-star rating in the safety tests, matching the scores of more traditionally-powered models.

“Because electric cars are still a niche product, whenever there is a problem, it hits the headlines,” says TheGreenCarWebsite.co.uk’s editor, Faye Sunderland.

“It is reassuring to see, that despite the distorting affect of media coverage, people seem to be confident that these products are as safe-maybe even safer than conventional models-and there is research to support that.”

Electric cars in the UK are growing in popularity; Nissan Leaf sales doubled in 2012 compared to 2011 figures, helped along by a £5,000 discount from the government’s plug-in car grant.

You can see the best electric cars on sale today in our electric car guide or contact your nearest electric car dealership.