June 26, 2023

Do Electric Vehicles Have a Weight Problem?

Insights UK Regional Division
Risk Management

In addition to potential electric vehicle problems of charging availability and range, there is an issue which is now receiving increasing press coverage, which is the additional weight of electric vehicles.  

While electric vehicles may not necessarily be larger than their traditional fuel counterparts, they’re likely to be considerably heavier, down to the weight of the battery. A recent article suggested that “electric models from Ford, Volvo and Toyota were all roughly 33% heavier than the gas-powered versions of the same vehicles.”1

The good news for champions of the electric vehicle is that their extra weight is all concentrated very low in the vehicle and well spread, which makes for a sportier drive due to the low centre of gravity. However, being heavier does mean they can prove more dangerous to other road users in the event of an accident.   

The additional weight is also predicted to result in extra wear on road surfaces and bridges. 

Motor Vehicle Repair Concerns 

There are very practical considerations for motor vehicle repairers. While safety issues regarding the electrocution risk and proper training have been discussed widely, the weight consideration is now being recognised as a potential issue when it comes to working safely under electric vehicles.  

The maintenance and viability of older lifting equipment is also being questioned in relation to safety concerns over the potential for regular additional loading either at the higher end of their normal working capacity or potentially exceeding safe limits on lighter and older equipment.  

The HSE guidance on working safely under motor vehicles being repaired is incredibly helpful and relevant in this situation, and worth reviewing in order to ensure safety standards are being met. 

1 https://globalnews.ca/news/9587791/electric-vehicle-weight-safety-risk/