All-electric vehicles offer a range of benefits and advantages, but for now, EVs tend to be quite a bit heavier than their ICE-powered equivalents, primarily due to the battery packs. As such, vehicle crash testing needs to adapt to compensate, as demonstrated in the following video from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Clocking in at three minutes, 13 seconds, the video covers efforts at the IIHS crash test center to upgrade the system to accommodate “ultra-heavy” EVs. As the video covers, the IIHS crash test system employs a tow cable that pulls the vehicle being tested along a runway, directing it into a stationary barrier. Although the system has worked well for years, the recent proliferation of EVs means that the system needs to be tested for greater and greater mass to ensure it can tow heavier vehicles up to the required velocity.
So, exactly how much weight are we talking about? Well, according to IIHS VP, Vehicle Research Center, Raul Arbelaez, the system was recently tested for a vehicle weighing 9,500 pounds, which is well above 6,000-pound Audi e-tron which previously held the record as the heaviest vehicle tested.
“With some of these electric vehicles that have been advertised coming in the next few years, one as high as 9,500 pounds – which is huge, I mean that’s much bigger than anything we’ve seen – we wanted to make sure that we could crash them here,” Arbelaez said.
In order to ensure that the IIHS crash system was up to the task, testers decided to load up a Ford F-150 with extra weight, throwing things like steel plates and concrete blocks into the bed. Luckily, the system managed to propel the extra-heavy pickup to the target speed of 40 mph.
GM has a few vehicles that could test the limits of the IIHS system – the GMC Hummer EV certainly comes to mind, what with its 9,063-pound curb weight. GM’s future full-size EV trucks will also likely be quite heavy, including the Chevy Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV, so it’s good to know the IIHS is ready to test these vehicles when the time comes.