From Watts Up With That?
Essay by Eric Worrall
Chevy Bolt. Image Modified, source Wikimedia
First published JoNova, Not a lot of people know that;
Would you want to drive an EV whose batteries might have been subtly damaged by a minor collision, even if there were no visible signs of damage?
Scratched EV battery? Your insurer may have to junk the whole car
By Nick Carey, Paul Lienert and Sarah Mcfarlane
LONDON/DETROIT, March 20 (Reuters) – For many electric vehicles, there is no way to repair or assess even slightly damaged battery packs after accidents, forcing insurance companies to write off cars with few miles – leading to higher premiums and undercutting gains from going electric.
And now those battery packs are piling up in scrapyards in some countries, a previously unreported and expensive gap in what was supposed to be a “circular economy.”
“We’re buying electric cars for sustainability reasons,” said Matthew Avery, research director at automotive risk intelligence company Thatcham Research. “But an EV isn’t very sustainable if you’ve got to throw the battery away after a minor collision.”
Lauterwasser noted EV battery production emits far more CO2 than fossil-fuel models, meaning EVs must be driven for thousands of miles before they offset those extra emissions.
“If you throw away the vehicle at an early stage, you’ve lost pretty much all advantage in terms of CO2 emissions,” he said.
…Read more: https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/scratched-ev-battery-your-insurer-may-have-junk-whole-car-2023-03-20/
So much for the green “circular economy”.
There are plenty of videos online of EVs spontaneously combusting, suffering thermal runaway.
Given this apparent risk, and how that risk appears to be magnified if the battery suffers a mechanical shock, it is understandable that insurers appear to be quietly taking the view that even minor collisions could turn an EV battery into a ticking time bomb.
The following video from 2022 mentions the insurance battery dumping issue. It also touches on strenuous attempts by EV manufacturers to mitigate the fire risk, by exploring different battery chemistry, and attempts to commercialise allegedly much safer solid state batteries.
Electric vehicles provide a path toward a greener future, but they can be especially dangerous when they catch fire.
While car fires are nothing new and internal combustion engine car fires are also a problem, lithium-ion battery fires are extremely volatile and challenging to put out, and there are few resources out there to help firefighters.
In addition, car makers like GM, Ford, Hyundai and Tesla have had to do costly recalls due to fire risk.
CNBC explores how automakers and firefighters are going to deal with EV’s fire problem.
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