Essay by Eric Worrall
h/t Geoff buys cars; Even minor accidents often result in battery damage ranging from £14,200 to £29,500.
Revealed EV repair costs compared to ICE equivalent
05/07/2023 in Electric Fleet News
The study, published by Thatcham Research and funded by the government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, sheds light on the technical and practical differences between battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and internal combustion engine vehicles (ICE) insurance claims.
Thatcham Research data-driven modeling shows that in 2022 there were potentially 9,400 vehicles involved in collisions that resulted in the battery being included in the repair. It is estimated that by 2035 there will be up to 260,000 vehicles per year.
Adrian Watson, Head of Technical Research at Thatcham Research, said: “Without significant changes, there is a strong possibility that claims costs will continue to grow disproportionately.”
“Much of the auto insurance industry has yet to adapt to the challenges of mass adoption of BEVs, and the impact on repair capacity, training and skills, cost and lifespan of BEVs has not yet been quantified.
“This lack of awareness means that many BEVs are often deemed beyond repair, leading to premature write-downs due to the high cost of batteries and the lack of value the UK ecosystem can recover from them.”
Currently, the cost of a replacement HV battery greatly increases the risk of a “wreck” or write-off.
HV battery costs vary widely from high-end vehicles, which currently cost £29,500, to low-end vehicles, which cost £14,200.
If the vehicle cannot be safely stored at the repair facility, additional charges will apply for transportation to and from an alternate location, storage at the alternate location, and longer vehicle rental period.
Read more: https://www.fleetnews.co.uk/news/latest-fleet-news/electric-fleet-news/2023/07/05/electric-vehicle-repair-costs-revealed-versus-ice- equivalent
A video explanation from Geoff Buys Cars;
The report is available here.
For now, it looks like insurance companies will absorb most of the losses from EV coverage, but I doubt this situation is sustainable.
When I met a kangaroo a few years ago, my vehicle was drivable, but there was a large dent on the front left of the vehicle that would have damaged the battery in an electric car. My internal combustion vehicle required about $1,000 in repairs from memory. An equivalent electric vehicle repair could easily have been one of those £14,200 to £29,500 write-downs.
$1,000 vs £29,500 – that’s a big difference in terms of insurance risk.
The report calls for the development of battery repair skills to mitigate this disparity, rather than incurring expensive battery write-offs. But will battery repair ever be an acceptable option?
While Thatcham Research claims that there are “technical solutions”, can any of you imagine accepting an EV with a “fixed” battery pack? How tempting will EV battery repairers be to cut corners and increase profits by raising the acceptable level of battery damage for the battery to be included in a “repaired” battery pack?
It wouldn’t take many battery repair scandals and deadly insurance repair fires to nullify any attempt to make EV battery repair a reality.
Even if battery repair shops are honest, if a battery looks fine, and even if battery cells pass x-ray inspection, each of those cells can still have tiny accidental damage, turning the battery pack into a ticking time bomb.