Why you should start caring about the weight of electric cars
6:32

Why you should start caring about the weight of electric cars

Roadshow
Speaker 1: Electric cars have plenty of hurdles on their way to almost certain widespread acceptance. You know, most of them charge time, range, places to charge cost of the vehicle. But there's another one that a lot of people don't think so much about, but which the auto industry is thinking about a little bit more lately. Wait, here's why the heaviness, the of electric car is not trivial Speaker 1: [00:00:30] Electric car simply weigh notably more than a combustion engine car of similar type a Tesla model, three performance with all wheel drive weighs about 4,065 pounds around 380, more than a similar BMW, three 30. I xDrive that comes in at 36 86, a Tesla model S long range weighs about 4,560 pounds, nearly 500, more than a BMW five 40 xDrive, which is comparable. And that's no lightweight at 4,050 [00:01:00] and a Chevy bolt weighs in astonishing 3,560 pounds over 800, more than a similarly sized Nissan kicks at 2,730. And all of those weights can contribute to greater tire wear greater road, wear greater road noise and a big difference in collisions. Speaker 1: The insurance Institute for highway safety makes one thing very clear. A lighter vehicle will always [00:01:30] be at a disadvantage in a collision with a heavier vehicle. It's logical. The heavier car has got more oomph to keep moving the other car. And therefore the heavier car will decelerate less and less radically in a collision where the light car basically gets pushed around. Therefore, the people inside those cars will either benefit or suffer from those same differences in dynamics. Bottom line, if things are equal and you have two cars of roughly the same volume you wanna be in the heavier one, you're gonna come out [00:02:00] better by all indications. That makes for an unfair situation on the road, depending on which car you are in, in a collision between a combustion and electric powered car, put it another way. You do not want to get hit by a 9,000 pound Hummer EV Or look how the D O T states it in a report from 2012 to lightweight lighter cars in pursuit of better fuel economy would create a greater risk of public health and fatalities [00:02:30] on the road. Whereas to lightweight heavier cars would reduce the risk of public injury and fatality on the road. Speaker 1: Now, since EV's way more, if they go down the road, they're putting more force, weight, and wear on that road surface that we all share gas, engine, cars, whatever they weigh tend to pay their way because they pay such high gas taxes. Every time you fill them up, electric cars don't pay any gas taxes and fuel [00:03:00] taxes are generally earmarked toward road maintenance and repair though. Not totally now, electric cars do pay taxes, or I should say their owners do there's the sales tax, which tends to be pretty high on EVs cuz their sales price tends to be higher. There's also licensing fees on them. There is also a special fee in some states like your in California, you pay a special annual fee that very slightly offsets the lack of gas taxes that you are not having to pay. And of course there's taxes on electricity in most places, but that doesn't [00:03:30] go toward road maintenance. Bottom line is EVs are still a small portion of the automotive populous, but as they become more common, we're gonna have to deal with the fact that we're running heavier machines on the roadway and not necessarily getting them to pay their fair share of that wear. Speaker 1: Then there's the noise of these heavy machines. You may say, wait a minute, electric cars are supposed to be nearly silent. Their power trains are, but their tires being forced down the road with a lot of weight on them or [00:04:00] anything but researchers, Judy Roche and Darlene Ryder estimate that 45 million of us in the us either live, work or go to school within 300 feet of a highway or a freeway. And that the sound of cars going down, those roads at those speeds are the largest single source of noise. Not engine noise, not arrow, dynamic noise, not idiots blowing their horn all the time. So this is a major deal. And when you also realize that many, but not all electric cars tend to use pretty good, large [00:04:30] size tires with a big contact patch, you can see where that big weight times a lot of rubber tread on the road, grinding and interacting with the asphalt is a no easy proposition. The idea that an electric future is a quiet future is oversold. At least when it comes to being adjacent to freeways, Speaker 1: Finally, there's towing and payload. You may have heard about some of these coming electric pickup trucks and they are all the rage with incredible towing payload and performance numbers. All true, [00:05:00] but there's undercurrent there. That's also a little troubling to truck people and that they are starting out the day before they even hitch up a trailer with more of a load. The battery can be seen as payload on a Ford F-150 lightning. For example, the vehicle has an 1800 pound battery. And even though it gets rid of its engine and transmission entirely, it still ends weigh a thousand pounds more than a similarly engine combustion F-150. So you start the day off in the morning with [00:05:30] a payload of a net thousand pounds. And that payload that battery, unlike gasoline is not a trivial weight, a full tank of gas weighs almost nothing compared to electric battery. Speaker 1: And as that battery deploy leaks and becomes less and less valuable as you're on your drive, the weight doesn't change. Unlike a gas tank that gets lighter as you do work and use up the fuel. So there's an interesting other angle here to the whole payload calculation and the ability to pull something like a trailer, [00:06:00] which has lousy aerodynamics with an electric vehicle whose weight is not gonna make that proposition any better bottom line. When you hear about energy density improvements on batteries or lightweighting electric cars in general, all of those lead to the same place trying to achieve parody in the weight of electric cars, compared to the state of the art with combustion cars, it is not trivial and it should be a factor that helps inform your decision, whether to buy an EV and which one.

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