Hybrids Versus Regular Cars in Crashes - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hybrids Versus Regular Cars in Crashes

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KENNEWICK, WA- Tuesday night three girls were involved in a car accident when the hybrid car they were traveling in ended upside down in a ditch. Deputies told us the girls were lucky they weren't electrocuted so we did some digging to see if hybrid cars really do pose a higher risk in accidents because of the high voltage. 

We talked to Kennewick firefighter, Chris Johnson and he told us that when first arriving to the scene of an accident, "our biggest concern is the same with any vehicle accident and that's securing the vehicle". When we asked if they treat hybrid vehicles any differently in the case of an accident he said, "during the last few years we  did some specific hybrid training our concerns are the high voltage and they're usually marked with orange its usually something we can avoid easily the batteries and the cables pose no real threat to us or the occupants".  

To do some more research on hybrid cars we talked with a Hybrid Specialist from Toyota, Noel Torres. He pointed out where the over 200 volt batteries are located in the cars, "the way the battery is located it's a sealed battery, there's a piece of metal, a faceplate metal that covers it, and also it has a ventilation system basically if the battery gets over heated there's a fan that goes into the cabin and pulls some cool air from inside the cabin". 

Torres told us that hybrid researchers spend almost one million dollars an hour on research for hybrid vehicles. It takes about 10 years of research before an actual product surfaces. Part of the research is thinking of scenarios a hybrid vehicle could get into and that's how they determined the automatic or manual battery shut off, "the electric motor and gas engine work together as two energy sources so if you have something that goes wrong with the battery the gas engine will shut off too" Torres told us. 

To answer the question, hybrid vehicles are not more dangerous than regular vehicles. In the meantime, we can all  try and avoid accidents by driving carefully on the roads.