Electric vehicles (EVs) have been hailed for their eco-friendliness and cost-effective operational expenses, but a recent study reveals a significant drawback that accompanies this innovative technology. According to a report from insurance-adjacent company Mitchell International, repairing electric cars after collisions is notably more expensive and time-consuming compared to their internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts. As the electric vehicle market continues to expand, this study sheds light on an aspect that needs attention as the automotive industry evolves.
EVs, with their lithium-ion battery technology, are still in the process of ironing out various challenges typical of new technologies. Among these challenges is the complexity and cost of repairing an electric vehicle after an accident. The report highlights that insurance claim costs tend to be higher for EVs, presenting a notable financial burden for both drivers and insurers.
In terms of repair costs, the study’s findings are clear. On average, the severity costs for repairing EVs are higher than those for ICE vehicles. The second quarter of 2023 witnessed severity costs for EVs surpassing those of ICE vehicles by $963 in the United States and $1,328 in Canada. Notably, these figures escalate further for Tesla owners in both countries, who may see their claims increase by $1,589 and $1,600, respectively, due to the brand’s unique characteristics.
The study also delves into the factors contributing to these higher repair costs. Electric car collision repairs demand a greater percentage of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts, averaging around 90.75%, compared to ICE vehicles that typically require 66.50% OEM parts. Furthermore, EVs tend to have a lower percentage of repairable parts (13.49% compared to 19.20% for ICE vehicles) and a longer time for paint refinishing (8.51 hours versus 8.02 hours).
Despite these challenges, there are notable advantages that EVs offer in collision scenarios. Due to their simpler powertrain design located between the wheels, front-end collisions in electric vehicles are generally less catastrophic compared to ICE vehicles. This highlights the potential safety benefits inherent to electric vehicle architecture. However, rear-end collisions can present significant challenges, particularly for Tesla vehicles due to the placement of high-voltage components near the rear fender for charging purposes.
While the study outlines current disparities in repair costs and methods between EVs and ICE vehicles, it also underscores the potential for improvement. As the electric vehicle industry continues to mature, production of EV components will likely become more efficient and widespread, naturally driving down repair costs. The timeline for these changes remains uncertain, leaving the industry with a critical question: when will the repair costs of EVs align with those of traditional fossil fuel-powered vehicles?
In conclusion, the study’s findings shed light on an important aspect of the electric vehicle landscape that warrants attention. As EVs become more common on the roads, understanding and addressing the reparability challenges is essential for both automakers and consumers. While the current disparities in repair costs may pose a hurdle, they also signify an opportunity for the industry to refine its processes and make electric vehicles a more viable option for a wider range of consumers.