According to a recent report by Reuters, insurance companies and other related experts in the automotive industry fear that insurance premiums will continue to rise for electric cars. This is due in part to the fact that there is still little available data from automakers about their EV battery packs and related repairs.
Insurance companies are contacting electric vehicle manufacturers for more data on the batteries, which could make repairs safer and easier. Moreover, if an insurer is uncertain about a battery pack's condition, or that of the battery cells inside, it may opt to have the entire pack replaced. Thatcham Research director Matthew Avery shared via Automotive News:
"We are buying electric cars for sustainability reasons. But an EV isn't very sustainable if you've got to throw the battery away after a minor collision."
We're talking about an insurance company demanding that a whole new battery pack be installed in a car if its pack has as much as a scratch. This is because it's the insurer's job to fix the car and make it safe again.
If an insurer were to overlook a battery concern after an accident, get the car back on the road without a proper battery pack inspection or repair, and there was later a fire or battery-related incident, the situation could spiral quickly. This could prove especially true if a previously damaged EV battery pack later caused an injury or death.
Many EV makers insist that battery packs can be repaired in some cases. However, most insurance companies simply don't have the data to back the claims. If the automakers don't make the battery pack data and repair information available to insurance companies, one would assume that if there was an issue down the road, the insurer could potentially point to the manufacturer as the part at fault.
Reuters says Ford has made its EV battery pack repair process simple. In fact, each individual module can be repaired independently, which reduces costs. The battery pack tray can also be replaced if it's damaged on the outside.
GM and Nissan also say their EV batteries can be repaired or replaced at the module level, which is less expensive than an entire pack replacement. GM allows third parties to access its battery data, so insurers could potentially get the information they need. However, a Nissan spokesperson didn't say the data is made available, but rather, that its franchised dealers have the training and tools necessary for proper battery repair.
According to Teslarati, Tesla typically chooses to replace the entire battery pack or even the entire car if there's an incident that damages the batteries. This is especially true if there's considerable damage to the EV's body and the internal electronics. Tesla doesn't replace battery parts or cells, and it doesn't repair modules. It only offers full-pack replacement. The EV maker also has its own insurance program, which makes it unique.
Interestingly, Stellantis doesn't allow its EV battery packs to be repaired after an accident that causes the airbags to deploy. It also doesn't make its internal data available to outsiders.
While there have been plenty of reasons shared over the years that EVs may not be the next best thing, most have been debunked. In addition, automakers have made improvements to ensure that most of the concerns have gone away. However, this is certainly a real concern that should arguably be handled sooner rather than later.
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