Today, I started to think about “The Great EV Push” and some of the differences between EVs and internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. When we discuss EV vs. ICE, we often focus on the driver’s experience and overcoming barriers to EV sales, which is great, but this excludes a discussion of the bigger picture. Is there enough of a conversation surrounding how a monumental switch to EV would affect established dealers, society, and infrastructure as a whole?
Fewer parts and less downtime, but there’s a caveat
When you get down to it, there are at least a few major differences between the two types of engines. What struck me the most in my research is the number of parts in an EV. These vehicles have only 200 parts as opposed to the 1,000 or more parts in traditional ICE vehicles. For customers, less parts will thankfully equate to less downtime and need for service. At the same time, dealers told me they’ll need to revamp their service areas to be prepared for servicing EVs.
Preparing service stations would include introducing a different type of training, as EV technicians are more like electricians than mechanics. ICE mechanics will be able to service older models still in existence but would need to expand their knowledge and skills to stay competitive in the job market. In addition, the service areas would now need a forklift for the EV Battery, which can be as heavy as 2,000 pounds or more.
Range anxiety is driving up vehicle weight excessively
The consequence of that kind of battery would be that EVs – even though they have much fewer parts – are significantly heavier than their ICE counterparts. EV trucks and SUVs weigh 2.5 times more than ICE trucks and SUVs. In terms of sedans, the EVs weigh about 30% more than ICE cars.
Increasing battery weight, I’m sure, is mainly due to manufacturer anxiety regarding pressure to extend range for the vehicles’ charge. One of the heavier vehicles is the EV Hummer, weighing over 10,500 pounds. Of that weight, the battery pack alone weighs 2,900 pounds. All this calls to question: what is the impact of these goliaths?
Our current infrastructure isn’t prepared for EV weight
I live outside of Detroit, Michigan where we have road repair going on almost all year long, yet roads never seem to improve. Part of that issue is caused by the harsh winters that wear down our roads faster. Michigan is also a trucking route with less regulation and fewer weigh stations, so we have a lot of heavy trucks on our roadways that cause more wear than in other states.
When I think of the increasing number of EV drivers, I can only imagine exponential damage to our roads. I also question if the need for even more repairs will begin to negate the environmental benefit of EVs?
What are the consequences of EV traffic accidents?
I also can’t help but think about the consequences for traffic accidents involving EVs. The results of accidents are never positive, but the weight of EVs poses a heightened risk, whether the accident involves another heavy EV or a lighter ICE vehicle. One of the dangers of driving in Michigan is also the volume of trucks on the roadways, and now we will have an influx of EV trucks.
In theory, EVs are safer in an accident because of their low center of gravity, absence of a gasoline tank, fewer moving parts, regenerative braking system, enhanced driver aid systems, and semi-autonomous driving capabilities. That said, I still worry about the unintended consequences of these heavier vehicles in accidents and the impact on the already-strained highway systems. Manufacturers are working on decreasing the weight of batteries while not sacrificing range. Dealers can continue to accelerate their transformation of EVs.
Pressure to shift to EV is causing us to rush without proper consideration
If our society had more time to slowly integrate EVs and charging into the mainstream – an otherwise very noble goal – the implementation would not need to be rushed and precautions could be properly considered. With the increasing Net Zero pressure and short-term goals for outlawing new ICE sales, there is a growing focus on charging accessibility, but our existing infrastructure and traffic laws do not have enough time to prepare.
EV integration into the world of transportation must be more than a campaign slogan. For a safe transition from ICE to EV that effectively reduces carbon footprint, government bodies and transportation officials must consider all the information and prepare the public and our infrastructure for the change. We can’t make more time, but we can put our heads together to consider all the information and implement a safer plan. Together, we do more.
The plan for EVs must be informed and well-rounded
Our deep experience working with EV manufacturers and established OEMs to accelerate their EV business provides Perficient with the essential knowledge and skills to assist in this time of great change and transformation. There are many solutions we see as critical to the transfer of our society from ICE to EV.
For example, improving the accessibility and functionality of EV charging stations would reduce the need for excessively heavy batteries, lowering the safety risk of traffic accidents and damage to our roads. In addition, manufacturers could better align their services and product offerings for all lifestyles, from multifamily housing and inner-city living to open country residences. We are here to help drive business outcomes and improved customer experiences.
Hand the wheel over to Perficient’s automotive expertise.