Electric cars that sustain minor bumps are being kept 15 metres apart in repair yards over fears they might explode, adding to insurance bills as they require 50 times more space than petrol cars. The Telegraph has more.
Government guidelines recommend electric vehicles with damaged batteries should be “quarantined” from other vehicles due to the risk of battery fires. Damaged batteries pose a risk of “thermal runaway” where the energy stored in the battery releases rapidly, creating temperatures of up to 400°C.
But the practice threatens to increase costs for the insurance industry by more than £600m, costs which ultimately could be passed onto drivers in increased premiums, according to a report by automotive risk firm Thatcham Research.
It said insurers would need to spend an additional £900m a year on quarantine facilities for damaged cars as a result of the safety measures by 2035, as more battery-powered vehicles take to the roads. The extra costs risk adding £20 a year onto all car insurance premiums, rising to £28 by 2050 when there are expected to be some 360,000 electric cars on the road network.
Just two damaged electric cars can fit into the same space that would otherwise fit 100 petrol or diesel cars, under current the DVLA and Transport Department guidelines.
Adrian Watson, of Thatcham Research, said: “I’ve seen salvage plants with quarantining compounds. Any EV goes straight in there and sits there for a week before they do anything with it.”
The placement of the battery within electric cars can make it more likely that it will be damaged and written off after a minor accident, according to experts who have previously pointed to common ‘skateboard’ designs. These place batteries underneath the car, leaving them susceptible to damage from minor accidents such as mounting the kerb.