Take a tour of the driveways of some of Western Australia’s well-heeled suburbs and the buzz of excitement about electric vehicles (EVs) is almost audible.

Undeterred – or untroubled – by high list prices and the prospect of range anxiety, the trend is for Teslas not Toyota Hiluxs; for plugging in, not going to the pumps.

Whether driven by an actual desire to save the planet or to simply be seen behind the wheel of a must-have ‘motor’, it appears that more and more road users are voting to power their commutes, school runs and shopping trips with rechargeable batteries rather than conventional engines.

And the stats back up the increased sightings, with Western Australians buying a total of 1,527 EVs during 2021 – doubling the size of the state’s green fleet in a single year.

Further traction will undoubtedly be gained following the national switch in political power, given the incoming Labor government has set a target of putting 3.8 million EVs on the road by 2030.

Its Powering Australian Plan includes the rolling out of 1,800 public charging stations over the course of the next three years and reviewing building codes to allow more charging options, which will make it easier for the population to ditch diesel and petrol.

This direction of travel is undeniably great for the climate, and national efforts to reduce CO2 emissions, but I believe the clamour for non-fossil fuelled cars and trucks has completely drowned out some important cautionary notes on the evolution of electric transport.

To be clear, I’m not advocating stalling the advance of EVs but rather highlighting that when you step out of the environmental echo chamber there is an uncomfortable silence surrounding the proverbial new kid on the block. An almost literal silence.

Having clocked up a significant number of miles as a personal injury lawyer, I know road traffic accidents are an all too regular occurrence and that when cars crash there can be very grave consequences.

Being alert to the presence of other road users – be they motorists, cyclists or pedestrians – is key to the prevention of collisions and something that is significantly harder to do without the growl or rumble provided by an engine.

Noise ‘pollution’ has its place and the incredibly hard to detect whirs of running EVs put pedestrians in particular at a distinct disadvantage. They are scarily quiet and, hailing from a territory historically lampooned for its love of unsubtle-on-the-ear ‘utes’, I suspect Australians may be more tone deaf than others to these low volume vehicles.

In the event of an accident, not hearing a car or being heard by a pedestrian are not sound legal defences and all the evidence suggests that an electric car’s bite is distinctly worse than its bark.

While EVs have a lighter impact on the environment, they are anything but lighter than traditional cars with internal combustion engines. The need for sizeable batteries – and the reinforced framework and suspension to accommodate them – make EVs a hefty addition to the roads. Consequently, should you be unlucky enough to be struck by one, the chances of sustaining a serious injury are high.

Throw in the fact that they are ludicrously quick to reach speed from a standing start and these planet savers pose a serious threat to people.

Whisper it quietly to those evangelical about EVs – but the pros of being easier on the Earth, and ear, are not without some concerning cons to contemplate.