September 12, 2021 by Jason Contant
Occupants in electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid models are less likely to be injured in a crash than people in similar gas-powered vehicles, according to a new report.
Lithium-ion batteries is the primary power source for today’s EVs. This means that these vehicles tend to weigh more than otherwise similar gasoline-powered vehicles. The additional weight has meant that occupants in EVs and hybrid models are less likely to be injured, said the report, released Thursday by CCC Intelligent Solutions Inc., a Chicago-based cloud platform that connects more than 30,000 automakers, insurers, collision repairers and parts suppliers.
“Unfortunately, when one of these heavier vehicles hits a lighter weight vehicle, the occupants in the lighter weight vehicle are at higher risk for injury as the added weight increases the force of impact,” said the report, titled Electric Vehicles Go Mainstream – Implications for the P&C Insurance Economy. “The way vehicles have been designed for crash worthiness may need to change as well, as some of the heaviest components of the vehicle, like the engine, have been moved to the base or rear of the vehicle, potentially changing the types and severity of motor vehicle injuries.”
The number of EVs on roads continues to grow, and with this growth comes increased complexity for insurers and collisions repairers. There are still only a small number of EV auto claims and repairs — in the U.S., EVs accounted for only 0.54% of CCC’s national industry repairable appraisal volume. However, as sales ramp further, claim and repair volumes will grow, the report noted.
CCC has already found that the average cost of repairs for a small EV is nearly 3% higher compared to a small internal combustion engine (ICE) car. Supplements accounted for 14% of the repair cost for the EVs versus only 11% for a similar internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle.
The analysis used data from national industry direct repair program repairs from Q3 2020 to Q2 2021 for the following subset of vehicles: driveable repairs for EV small non-luxury cars one to three years old versus driveable repairs for comparable ICB non-luxury cars from the same automakers.
The analysis also found:
“While this analysis looks only at a small subset of vehicles, it provides some perspective on some of the trends we will see emerge as more electric vehicles are bought, crashed, and repaired,” the report concluded. “Electrification is just one of the trends within the automotive sector driving change in the vehicle auto claims and collision repair industries. However, since electric vehicle sales are growing quickly, anticipating the changes and new requirements they bring is important.”
Feature image by iStock.com/Naypong