As electric vehicles become more popular, the issue of sustainability has arisen regarding the inability to repair damaged batteries after collisions. For some insurers, even minor damage to an electric battery can result in an entire car being written off, leading to higher premiums for the consumer. As a result, countries are seeing an increase in electric vehicle batteries piling up in scrapyards, creating an environmental impact greater than the cars they are attempting to replace.
The battery packs in electric vehicles can cost as much as 50% of the car’s price tag and represent tens of thousands of dollars. This makes replacing batteries uneconomical and exacerbates the problem of cars piling up in scrapyards, usually with low mileage. According to Reuters, EV salvage sales in the U.S. and Europe include low-mileage Teslas, Nissan, Hyundai, Stellantis, BMW, Renault, and others.
Experts predict that premiums will increase unless EV batteries become more easily repairable. Christoph Lauterwasser, managing director of the Allianz Center for Technology, a research institute owned by Allianz, called addressing the issue “crucial.” “The number of cases is going to increase, so the handling of batteries is a crucial point,” Lauterwasser said.
Furthermore, EVs need to be driven for thousands of miles before the extra emissions used to create them are offset. If these EVs are scrapped before they reach that off-setting figure, they have more of an environmental impact than the cars they are attempting to replace. “If you throw away the vehicle at an early stage, you’ve lost pretty much all advantage in terms of CO2 emissions,” Lauterwasser added.
Several car manufacturers claim that the battery packs in their electric vehicles can be repaired. However, many car repair shops, insurers, and leasing companies are not aware of this information, which has resulted in some legal disputes.
Despite this, electric vehicles are equipped with many safety features that have resulted in fewer accidents than traditional cars, as noted by insurers and industry experts.
According to Policygenius, an online brokerage, the average monthly insurance payment for an electric vehicle in the United States is around $206, which is 27% higher than the insurance payment for a combustion-engine model.