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Surge in Car-Crash Deaths Could Be Magnified by New Breed of EVs

With their greater size and power, several new battery-powered SUVs and trucks are heightening pedestrian and traffic safety concerns.

At about 9,000 pounds, the GMC Hummer weighs roughly twice as much as a gas-powered Chevrolet pickup.

At about 9,000 pounds, the GMC Hummer weighs roughly twice as much as a gas-powered Chevrolet pickup.

Photographer: Emily Elconin/Bloomberg
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All things being equal, choosing an electric vehicle over one with an internal combustion engine is likely to be a better move for the planet, thanks to motors that don’t spew greenhouse gases while underway.

But all things aren’t always equal: Battery-powered cars and trucks tend to be far heavier than their gas-burning counterparts. That extra bulk translates into a mixed bag of benefits and concerns, especially when it comes to safety. The occupants of heavy vehicles tend to fare better in an accident, explained Michael Anderson, the University of California professor who co-wrote the study “Pounds That Kill: The External Costs of Vehicle Weight.”