Hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) may be safer for the environment, but are their drivers equally friendly toward other motorists on the road?
As legislation encourages more Americans to choose electric vehicles through tax credits and fossil fuel phase-outs, electric vehicle sales continue to trend upward steadily. With the growing popularity of such vehicles, Insurify’s data scientists turned to their database of more than 4.6 million car insurance applications to ascertain which EVs and hybrids had the safest drivers. The safest drivers on the road are those with the least traffic violations, like speeding, recklessness, accidents, and intoxication.
On average, EV drivers are slightly safer drivers than drivers of other car types. On average, 13.8% of EV drivers have violations versus 14.5% for drivers of all other vehicles.
BMW i3 drivers have the most violations, at 25.9% — the highest of all vehicle types, including EVs.
Insurify’s data identified the Chevrolet Bolt EV as the car model with the safest drivers out of all other hybrid and electric vehicles. Only 7% of these drivers were found to have a prior violation on their record — that’s 65% less than the average hybrid/EV driver.
EV drivers may have more moving violations because EVs have faster acceleration. Some can even take you from zero to 60 in three seconds flat.
Electric vehicles with the best drivers
Consumers are turning to electric vehicles (EVs) for their environmental friendliness and cost-efficiency. The Insurify data team compiled a list of the electric vehicles with the safest drivers, featuring popular models such as the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Tesla Model X, Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul EV, and more.
10. Tesla Model S
Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 13.2%
MPGe: 96–120, depending on model
The Tesla Model S is one of the most popular electric vehicles on the market and has safer drivers than the average hybrid or electric vehicle.
Industry experts recognize its impressive performance, including acceleration and handling capabilities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded it a 5-star safety rating.
The Model S features unique characteristics that set it apart from other electric vehicles. For instance, drivers control the vehicle’s various systems through the 17-inch touchscreen in the center console, which serves as the primary interface for climate control, entertainment, and navigation.
9. Hyundai Ioniq 5
Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 13.1%
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is a new player in the electric vehicle market, but it’s quickly gaining popularity — Car and Driver named it the 2022 EV of the Year. It offers a unique blend of style, performance, and sustainability, making it a standout option in the crowded electric vehicle market.
The electric powertrain delivers smooth and instant acceleration and has a long driving range. The Ioniq 5 can go up to 303 miles on a single charge, making it an ideal choice for long-distance travel. It also has fast-charging capabilities. With a five-minute charge, you can travel 68 miles.
8. Ford Mustang Mach-E
Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 12.9%
MPGe: 82–103, depending on model
The Ford Mustang Mach-E combines the classic Mustang style with the latest electric vehicle technology. This unique blend of style, performance, and technology may be why 73% of drivers who buy a Mach-E are new to the Ford brand, according to Ford. It also has safer drivers than the Tesla Model S, Chevrolet Spark, and Toyota Prius, with only 12.9% of drivers reporting a previous moving violation.
The classic Mustang styling cues, along with a spacious and well-appointed interior and smooth and powerful acceleration, are great for everyday trips to work and long-distance travel. The EV is compatible with 120V or 240V charging and uses the BlueOval Charge Network to power your Mustang in minutes.
7. Tesla Model 3
Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 12.5%
Since its launch in 2017, the Model 3 has established itself as a leader in the electric vehicle market. The Tesla Model 3 is one of the brand’s lowest-cost options but doesn’t skimp on performance, range, or features.
The Model 3 can come equipped with enhanced autopilot and full self-driving capability, including traffic light and stop sign control, automatic lane change, and auto park. It can charge to 80% in about 30 minutes. The Model 3 has a smaller percentage of drivers with previous violations compared to other EV brands, such as Toyota, Lexus, and Chevrolet.
6. Tesla Model Y
Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 12.2%
The Tesla Model Y is an all-electric SUV, offering a more spacious and advanced alternative to the Model 3. With a long range, great tech, and fast acceleration, the Model Y and the Model 3 account for over 50% of the total EV market. Drivers of the Model Y are safer than their Model 3 and Model S counterparts, with only 12.2% reporting a prior violation on their record.
With its high-strength Class II steel tow bar, the Model Y can tow up to 3,500 pounds, making it an even more versatile vehicle. The Model Y has a roomy interior that can accommodate up to seven passengers. It also has an excellent history of safe drivers, making it ideal for families and those with active lifestyles.
5. Toyota RAV4 EV
Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 11.9%
As the only Toyota in the top 10 list of EVs with the safest drivers, the RAV4 EV has a target range of 100 miles. It was the first EV jointly developed with Tesla and features a Tesla electric powertrain.
Toyota stopped production in 2014, so only used vehicles are available. The RAV4 Prime is an excellent alternative, at $42,340. Powered by a plug-in hybrid system, this vehicle offers powerful AWD and impressive horsepower. However, it doesn’t earn the highest marks for safe drivers — 12.26% of Prime owners have prior driving violations on their records.
4. Kia Soul EV
Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 10.1%
The Kia Soul EV is a subcompact crossover with a competitive driving range of up to 243 miles on a full charge. It also comes with Kia’s 10-year/100,000-mile warranty — among the most generous on the market. Unfortunately, Kia stopped selling the Soul EV in the U.S. market in 2021.
If you’re looking for a Kia electric car, check out the 2023 Kia EV6. It was named the 2023 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year. The EV6 has a starting price of $48,700, gets 117 MPGe, and can charge to 80% in 18 minutes.
3. Nissan Leaf
Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 9.8%
Nissan’s flagship EV product, the Leaf, is spacious for a compact vehicle. Besides having some of the safest drivers, the Leaf has a relatively low financial barrier to entering the electric vehicle market. Its starting price is $28,040.
But its attractive price doesn’t mean the car skimps on tech, with flashy safety features like driver assistance and remote, smartphone-controlled climate. But the Leaf’s range is just over 200 miles, which could make recharging inconvenient.
2. Tesla Model X
Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 8.8%
Packed with luxury and speed, the Tesla Model X has a long-lasting range and high performance of up to 348 miles. At just 8.8%, it has the lowest percentage of drivers with previous driving violations of all Tesla models.
One of the most unique and eye-catching features of the Model X is its “falcon wing” doors, which are a dramatic departure from traditional car doors. The doors hinge at the roof, opening upwards to offer easy access to the second and third rows of seats, even in tight parking spaces.
1. Chevrolet Bolt EV
Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 7.0%
An excellent choice for city and highway driving, the Chevrolet Bolt has been serving up all-electric driving since 2016. Bolt drivers seem to take safety more seriously than other EV drivers. These drivers are the safety champions, with just 7% having motor vehicle violations.
The Bolt EV is also one of the most affordable EV options. Since it starts at $26,500, you could pay just $19,000 after the Clean Vehicle Federal Tax Credit. With a range of over 259 miles on a single charge, the Bolt EV gives drivers the peace of mind to travel long distances without worrying about running out of power.
Learn More: What Is a Hybrid Car?
The data scientists at Insurify, a site to compare auto insurance rates, referred to their database of more than 4.6 million car insurance applications to identify the EV models with the best drivers. When applying for car insurance, applicants disclose their vehicle’s make, model, and fuel type, in addition to any prior violations on their driving record.
Insurify’s data scientists compared the number of drivers with at least one violation on their record, from speeding and failure-to-yield incidents to street racing and DUIs, to the total number of drivers for each electric and electric/hybrid car model in the database. The five models with the lowest infraction rates, or the highest proportion of clean driving records, were selected as being the EV models with the best drivers.
Information for each vehicle’s base price was derived from the manufacturer’s website, while the fuel economy for each was derived from the U.S. Department of Energy’s fuel economy tool. The listed body type reflects the hybrid models of that particular vehicle’s most recent generation.
Drivers looking for ways to save money in an environmentally friendly economy are making electric vehicles more popular. The data science team at Insurify found that the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Tesla Model X, and Nissan Leaf are the top three electric vehicles with the safest drivers.
The findings suggest that the combination of eco-consciousness and responsible driving behavior can result in safer roads for everyone. The future of transportation looks promising with the trend of electric vehicles continuing to grow and with drivers who prioritize safety and responsibility behind the wheel.