Much like the broader auto industry, GM is in the midst of a transition to electric vehicles, with plans for zero tailpipe emissions across its light-duty vehicle lineup by the 2035 calendar year. Of course, one of the most important components in an EV is the battery, and now, one recent report indicates that even the slightest damage to an EV battery pack may result in insurance companies totaling the entire vehicle.
According to a report from Reuters, many electric vehicles do not provide a method for insurance companies to assess or repair battery packs following a collision, which means that even slight damage to the pack could lead to a full write-off for the EV in question.
The battery pack is typically one of the most expensive components in an electric vehicle, and can even form an integral part of the overall structure, increasing repair costs substantially. According to the report, a replacement battery for a Tesla Model 3 sedan can costs upwards of $20,000, nearly half of the vehicle’s $43,000 retail price.
Some automakers, including GM and Ford, contend that they have made battery packs that are easier to repair. Nevertheless, insurance premiums for electric vehicles, which are already high compared to internal-combustion-based vehicles, are expected to continue to rise unless automakers develop more easily repairable battery packs.
The issue challenges the argument that electric vehicles provide a sustainable method to reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change. It’s estimated that EVs already produce more carbon during production compared to an equivalent ICE-based model, which means that if an EV is totaled prior to reaching carbon parity with an ICE-based vehicle, the average carbon emissions may in fact be higher for the EV. Carbon parity depends on a variety of different factors, most critically the charging source, but it can be tens of thousands of miles after the EV rolls off the production line before the EV reaches equivalence with a comparable ICE-based model.