More EV Woes

 

Electric vehicles completely replacing gasoline cars would burden our power grid to the breaking point, not to mention the added pollution to generate all that electricity.  This is a huge problem we’re aware of.  However, there’s another problem with EVs that I hadn’t thought about before (no big surprise, since I’ve given up thinking for Lent):

https://www.newsmax.com/finance/laurenfix/electric-vehicles-road-damage-pothole/2024/02/16/id/1153929/

The added weight of EV batteries causes more road damage than gasoline powered cars.  Of course, tractor-trailers are a big culprit too, but replacing all existing gasoline cars for electric would place a tremendous burden on our roads.  We can barely keep or streets and highways pothole free now.  Imagine a future where every road looks like a New Orleans street. (Those of us who went to the NOLA Meetup can attest to the state of their roads).

What if we could find a way to keep the roads repaired?  Well, look at how traffic backs up with road repair today.  Imagine doubling or tripling the number of work zones. You’d have streets and highways clogged more often than not.

I remember watching a video where the host discussed the additional number of fatalities that would occur, given that electric vehicles weigh more.  He suggested the collision between a heavy EV and a light EV would greatly increase the likelihood of a death or serious injury because the added weight is in the battery, not structural components.

Still, small EVs would be great for cities in warm-to-moderate climates where you didn’t have far to drive, and only needed to charge the vehicle at home.

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  1. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    Stad: Still, small EVs would be great for cities in warm-to-moderate climates where you didn’t have far to drive, and only needed to charge the vehicle at home.

    Unless, of course, you have to have an actual, useful vehicle for some requirements. Weekend at the beach? Going to see the parents? The grandchildren? MAGA caravan?

    • #1
  2. Chowderhead Coolidge
    Chowderhead
    @Podunk

    I never even thought about the extra weight aspect. On the local FD I have been to many head-on collisions. Cars now are made to basically be a giant shock absorber. The engineering is pretty impressive. I went to an accident once where one guy drifted into oncoming traffic. Both cars were  going about 60mph. Everybody died and I don’t want to make light of it but the way the cars crumpled was amazing. Nothing protruded anywhere. It did the best it could. I can’t imagine a bank of batteries in even a lesser situation. I’m sure there have been crash tests with EV’s. Is that data being squashed?

    • #2
  3. Chowderhead Coolidge
    Chowderhead
    @Podunk

    Increased Weight Equals Greater Danger

    Electric vehicle batteries weigh more than a full tank of gasoline, adding to the total weight of the vehicle. The vehicle’s total weight increases with its size as well. A GMC Hummer EV, for instance, may weigh over 9,000 pounds in total, including 2,900 pounds of battery.

    link

     

    • #3
  4. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Stad: I’ve given up thinking for Lent

    Has Neutral Observer noticed any changes?

    • #4
  5. Al French Moderator
    Al French
    @AlFrench

    Road repair is financed mostly with gasoline taxes. If all cars were electric, where would the money come from? I don’t think anyone has figured that out. 

    • #5
  6. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    There is a lot to be said for hybrids. The battery is much smaller, but you still get the benefits of regenerative braking, recapturing energy that would otherwise dissipated as heat.  And if it’s a plug-in hybrid, you can run all-electric for short trips.

    One thing I don’t know, though, is how hybrids fit in with the EV mandates in places like California. Probably don’t count, as that would make too much sense.

    • #6
  7. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Even taking electric vehicles out of the equation, cars are a lot heavier than they used to be.  I would guess a 2024 Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, or Ford Mustang weighs about 1,000 pounds more than those same models weighed in 1980.  They’re nicer, have a lot more luxury and safety features, but are definitely heavier.  Then factor in that a lot of (maybe most) people who decades ago used to drive a big car weighing 3500 pounds are now driving a crew-cab pickup or an SUV that weighs 5,000 pounds.

    • #7
  8. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Al French (View Comment):

    Road repair is financed mostly with gasoline taxes. If all cars were electric, where would the money come from? I don’t think anyone has figured that out.

    I saw something somewhere where someone was complaining that their car registration fees were a LOT higher for her EV vs gas powered. 

    DMV person explained it was to compensate for the lack of gas taxes for EV. 

    • #8
  9. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    I read an article about this recently (no idea where). Also mentioned was that if California’s EV goals were met, parking structures wouldn’t be able to handle the weight. 

    • #9
  10. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Roadway pavement design takes into consideration the number and type of heavy trucks expected to use the roadway as well as the automotive traffic. Truck traffic is the more important consideration in pavement design.  As EVs become a more significant part of the vehicle mix, designs might have to be changed to take heavier automotive traffic into account. It is probably not that significant yet in most places, particularly in rural areas. I don’t doubt that the mix of EV traffic has already become a topic of investigation by state highway departments in regards to future designs. For the present, I expect that the heavy truck mix will still govern design of most roads. The most effective way to avoid potholes is to keep water from getting beneath the road.

    • #10
  11. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Al French (View Comment):

    Road repair is financed mostly with gasoline taxes. If all cars were electric, where would the money come from? I don’t think anyone has figured that out.

    A lot of policy people have said it is time to drop the gasoline tax and replace it with a fee based on the number of miles driven, with the weight of the vehicle factored into the rate.  I am not enthused about these ideas.  It would be an inconvenience if once a year when you renewed your license plate tabs, you couldn’t do it by mail and had to take your vehicle to a DMV office where someone checked your odometer to calculate your fee.  And a lot of people would bark because the gas tax is paid a little at a time, each time you fill up rather than once a year. 

    But I would rather than suffer that inconvenience than the more popular proposal which is to require that every vehicle have a tattle-take device that will wirelessly report to your state how many miles you’ve driven, and where.  In a way that would be more fair to the states, because someone who does a lot of out-of-state driving would be paying some to each state they’ve driven in rather than their home state getting all the money.  But the incredible downside is that the device not only has to keep track of how many miles you’ve driven, but where you have driven.  And heck, since we’re having the tattle-tale record where you’ve driven, why not mandate that they record when you have driven there.  You know, just in case the state wants to know for some reason. 

    Some advocates of this figure this would be a great way to implement congestion pricing.  If you are driving down a road when there is little traffic you pay the base rate per mile for a vehicle in your weight class.  If you are driving during rush-hour, we’ll make you pay an upcharge for contributing to traffic jams.  How long would it take before politicians reckon this would be a way to reward their friends and punish their enemies?  If you live in a very Republican state, maybe you get to drive for free if you are driving to church, and you pay triple if you are going to a night club that features topless dancers.  If you live in a very Democratic state, drives to a hunting club are triple-taxed while drives to an abortion clinic are tax-free.

    • #11
  12. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Al French (View Comment):

    Road repair is financed mostly with gasoline taxes. If all cars were electric, where would the money come from? I don’t think anyone has figured that out.

    A lot of policy people have said it is time to drop the gasoline tax and replace it with a fee based on the number of miles driven, with the weight of the vehicle factored into the rate. I am not enthused about these ideas. It would be an inconvenience if once a year when you renewed your license plate tabs, you couldn’t do it by mail and had to take your vehicle to a DMV office where someone checked your odometer to calculate your fee. And a lot of people would bark because the gas tax is paid a little at a time, each time you fill up rather than once a year.

    But I would rather than suffer that inconvenience than the more popular proposal which is to require that every vehicle have a tattle-take device that will wirelessly report to your state how many miles you’ve driven, and where. In a way that would be more fair to the states, because someone who does a lot of out-of-state driving would be paying some to each state they’ve driven in rather than their home state getting all the money. But the incredible downside is that the device not only has to keep track of how many miles you’ve driven, but where you have driven. And heck, since we’re having the tattle-tale record where you’ve driven, why not mandate that they record when you have driven there. You know, just in case the state wants to know for some reason.

    Some advocates of this figure this would be a great way to implement congestion pricing. If you are driving down a road when there is little traffic you pay the base rate per mile for a vehicle in your weight class. If you are driving during rush-hour, we’ll make you pay an upcharge for contributing to traffic jams. How long would it take before politicians reckon this would be a way to reward their friends and punish their enemies? If you live in a very Republican state, maybe you get to drive for free if you are driving to church, and you pay triple if you are going to a night club that features topless dancers. If you live in a very Democratic state, drives to a hunting club are triple-taxed while drives to an abortion clinic are tax-free.

    Yikes.  Lots of SCARY stuff there…

    • #12
  13. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Al French (View Comment):

    Road repair is financed mostly with gasoline taxes. If all cars were electric, where would the money come from? I don’t think anyone has figured that out.

    A lot of policy people have said it is time to drop the gasoline tax and replace it with a fee based on the number of miles driven, with the weight of the vehicle factored into the rate. I am not enthused about these ideas. It would be an inconvenience if once a year when you renewed your license plate tabs, you couldn’t do it by mail and had to take your vehicle to a DMV office where someone checked your odometer to calculate your fee. And a lot of people would bark because the gas tax is paid a little at a time, each time you fill up rather than once a year.

    But I would rather than suffer that inconvenience than the more popular proposal which is to require that every vehicle have a tattle-take device that will wirelessly report to your state how many miles you’ve driven, and where. In a way that would be more fair to the states, because someone who does a lot of out-of-state driving would be paying some to each state they’ve driven in rather than their home state getting all the money. But the incredible downside is that the device not only has to keep track of how many miles you’ve driven, but where you have driven. And heck, since we’re having the tattle-tale record where you’ve driven, why not mandate that they record when you have driven there. You know, just in case the state wants to know for some reason.

    Some advocates of this figure this would be a great way to implement congestion pricing. If you are driving down a road when there is little traffic you pay the base rate per mile for a vehicle in your weight class. If you are driving during rush-hour, we’ll make you pay an upcharge for contributing to traffic jams. How long would it take before politicians reckon this would be a way to reward their friends and punish their enemies? If you live in a very Republican state, maybe you get to drive for free if you are driving to church, and you pay triple if you are going to a night club that features topless dancers. If you live in a very Democratic state, drives to a hunting club are triple-taxed while drives to an abortion clinic are tax-free.

    Yikes. Lots of SCARY stuff there…

    It’s the dream of normal people to make other people behave the right way, isn’t it?  I expect you see it among your colleagues.  It’s not unusual to hear doctors in little video clips saying we need to outlaw guns, or alcohol, or fast cars.  Maybe ration fattening food, or mandate this or that.  Because the truth is we would live longer if we lived in a nanny state.  Zoo animals far outlive the same species in the wild.  We’d like to blame some new-fangled ideology, but this is just plain old human nature.  I know the right way to live and government ought to make everyone live like me.  Or at least use taxation to nudge people in the right direction.

    • #13
  14. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    Stad: would burden our power grid to the breaking point, not to mention the added pollution to generate all that electricity. 

    The power grid problem is easily fixable by controlling when and where you can charge your vehicle.  That is just a bit of software, no big deal. 

    What added pollution?  This is not China.  We have negligible pollution from electricity generation.

    • #14
  15. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):
    The power grid problem is easily fixable by controlling when and where you can charge your vehicle.  That is just a bit of software, no big deal. 

    No big deal, until you realize that controls how far and how long you are permitted to drive.

    • #15
  16. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Al French (View Comment):

    Road repair is financed mostly with gasoline taxes. If all cars were electric, where would the money come from? I don’t think anyone has figured that out.

    Various states have talked about mileage taxes for EVs, but actual methods of collection remain unclear.  So far as I’ve heard, no state is actually collecting mileage taxes on EVs.  Some states add a modest flat amount to EV registration, but not like what they’d need to get for mileage to maintain the roads.  Meanwhile, not paying those taxes is a big part of why EVs seem so cheap to use.  For now.

    • #16
  17. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Even taking electric vehicles out of the equation, cars are a lot heavier than they used to be. I would guess a 2024 Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, or Ford Mustang weighs about 1,000 pounds more than those same models weighed in 1980. They’re nicer, have a lot more luxury and safety features, but are definitely heavier. Then factor in that a lot of (maybe most) people who decades ago used to drive a big car weighing 3500 pounds are now driving a crew-cab pickup or an SUV that weighs 5,000 pounds.

    But aren’t they trying to REDUCE weight to improve mileage, by using aluminum instead of steel etc?

    • #17
  18. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Annefy (View Comment):

    I read an article about this recently (no idea where). Also mentioned was that if California’s EV goals were met, parking structures wouldn’t be able to handle the weight.

    Wouldn’t surprise me.

    About a year ago a 100 year old parking garage in Manhattan collapsed. I never saw a final report on the cause of the collapse, but there had been quite a bit of speculation that increased vehicle weight may have contributed. Some from greater parking density (an attendant parking cars bumper to bumper rather than users parking cars in well-separated spaces), some from more large SUVs than the modest 1920s cars for which the garage had been built, and some from more heavier electric vehicles. 

    • #18
  19. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    Chowderhead (View Comment):

    I never even thought about the extra weight aspect. On the local FD I have been to many head-on collisions. Cars now are made to basically be a giant shock absorber. The engineering is pretty impressive. I went to an accident once where one guy drifted into oncoming traffic. Both cars were going about 60mph. Everybody died and I don’t want to make light of it but the way the cars crumpled was amazing. Nothing protruded anywhere. It did the best it could. I can’t imagine a bank of batteries in even a lesser situation. I’m sure there have been crash tests with EV’s. Is that data being squashed?

    The hot battery fire would consume you before the responders could extract you. 

    • #19
  20. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Even taking electric vehicles out of the equation, cars are a lot heavier than they used to be. I would guess a 2024 Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, or Ford Mustang weighs about 1,000 pounds more than those same models weighed in 1980. They’re nicer, have a lot more luxury and safety features, but are definitely heavier. Then factor in that a lot of (maybe most) people who decades ago used to drive a big car weighing 3500 pounds are now driving a crew-cab pickup or an SUV that weighs 5,000 pounds.

    But aren’t they trying to REDUCE weight to improve mileage, by using aluminum instead of steel etc?

    Yes, the vehicles would be even heavier if there was more steel in the construction and less aluminum, plastic, and other lighter weight materials.  But those materials aren’t enough to undo the increase in size, and the addition of a ton (well, half-ton) of luxury and safety equipment.  Look at wheel sizes, as an example.  A lot of cars that had 14″ or 15″ diameter wheels 40 years ago are now sporting 19″ wheels as standard equipment with larger wheels as an option.  Car sizes and weights went down following the gas crisis in the early 1970’s but by the early 90’s we started packing the pounds back on.  Am I right, @garymcvey?

    • #20
  21. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    Chowderhead (View Comment):

    I never even thought about the extra weight aspect. On the local FD I have been to many head-on collisions. Cars now are made to basically be a giant shock absorber. The engineering is pretty impressive. I went to an accident once where one guy drifted into oncoming traffic. Both cars were going about 60mph. Everybody died and I don’t want to make light of it but the way the cars crumpled was amazing. Nothing protruded anywhere. It did the best it could. I can’t imagine a bank of batteries in even a lesser situation. I’m sure there have been crash tests with EV’s. Is that data being squashed?

    The hot battery fire would consume you before the responders could extract you.

    While electric car fires are a lot harder to put out, they are less like to catch fire than gasoline-powered cars.

    • #21
  22. Chowderhead Coolidge
    Chowderhead
    @Podunk

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    Chowderhead (View Comment):

    I never even thought about the extra weight aspect. On the local FD I have been to many head-on collisions. Cars now are made to basically be a giant shock absorber. The engineering is pretty impressive. I went to an accident once where one guy drifted into oncoming traffic. Both cars were going about 60mph. Everybody died and I don’t want to make light of it but the way the cars crumpled was amazing. Nothing protruded anywhere. It did the best it could. I can’t imagine a bank of batteries in even a lesser situation. I’m sure there have been crash tests with EV’s. Is that data being squashed?

    The hot battery fire would consume you before the responders could extract you.

    While electric car fires are a lot harder to put out, they are less like to catch fire than gasoline-powered cars.

    One of the first things we do on scene is cut the battery cable. I wouldn’t even know where to look on an EV. Gas fires are not as common as you would think. I assume battery fires aren’t common either in crashes as well. What would concern me is where the batteries go in a crash. They are not made to crumple like everything in a gas car does. 

     

    • #22
  23. Al French Moderator
    Al French
    @AlFrench

    Another woe: used EV prices, never very good because of battery life,  have cratered. 

    • #23
  24. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Chowderhead (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    Chowderhead (View Comment):

    I never even thought about the extra weight aspect. On the local FD I have been to many head-on collisions. Cars now are made to basically be a giant shock absorber. The engineering is pretty impressive. I went to an accident once where one guy drifted into oncoming traffic. Both cars were going about 60mph. Everybody died and I don’t want to make light of it but the way the cars crumpled was amazing. Nothing protruded anywhere. It did the best it could. I can’t imagine a bank of batteries in even a lesser situation. I’m sure there have been crash tests with EV’s. Is that data being squashed?

    The hot battery fire would consume you before the responders could extract you.

    While electric car fires are a lot harder to put out, they are less like to catch fire than gasoline-powered cars.

    One of the first things we do on scene is cut the battery cable. I wouldn’t even know where to look on an EV. Gas fires are not as common as you would think. I assume battery fires aren’t common either in crashes as well. What would concern me is where the batteries go in a crash. They are not made to crumple like everything in a gas car does.

     

    It doesn’t take much.

    • #24
  25. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    While electric car fires are a lot harder to put out, they are less like to catch fire than gasoline-powered cars.

    Could you provide me a reference for that?

    • #25
  26. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Even taking electric vehicles out of the equation, cars are a lot heavier than they used to be. I would guess a 2024 Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, or Ford Mustang weighs about 1,000 pounds more than those same models weighed in 1980. They’re nicer, have a lot more luxury and safety features, but are definitely heavier. Then factor in that a lot of (maybe most) people who decades ago used to drive a big car weighing 3500 pounds are now driving a crew-cab pickup or an SUV that weighs 5,000 pounds.

    But aren’t they trying to REDUCE weight to improve mileage, by using aluminum instead of steel etc?

    Yes, the vehicles would be even heavier if there was more steel in the construction and less aluminum, plastic, and other lighter weight materials. But those materials aren’t enough to undo the increase in size, and the addition of a ton (well, half-ton) of luxury and safety equipment. Look at wheel sizes, as an example. A lot of cars that had 14″ or 15″ diameter wheels 40 years ago are now sporting 19″ wheels as standard equipment with larger wheels as an option. Car sizes and weights went down following the gas crisis in the early 1970’s but by the early 90’s we started packing the pounds back on. Am I right, @ garymcvey?

    Steel door beams, power seats, power windows, power sunroof mechanisms, universal air conditioning, air bag mechanisms, energy absorbing bumpers all add weight. Most were only on large lavishly equipped cars of the early 1970s.

    • #26
  27. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    While electric car fires are a lot harder to put out, they are less like to catch fire than gasoline-powered cars.

    Could you provide me a reference for that?

    I don’t remember where I read the numbers, but a quick search found this article at AutoWeek.

    Researchers from insurance deal site Auto Insurance EZ compiled sales and accident data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and the National Transportation Safety Board. The site found that hybrid vehicles had the most fires per 100,000 sales at 3474.5. There were 1529.9 fires per 100k for gas vehicles and just 25.1 fires per 100k sales for electric vehicles.

    • #27
  28. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    While electric car fires are a lot harder to put out, they are less like to catch fire than gasoline-powered cars.

    Could you provide me a reference for that?

    I don’t remember where I read the numbers, but a quick search found this article at AutoWeek.

    Researchers from insurance deal site Auto Insurance EZ compiled sales and accident data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and the National Transportation Safety Board. The site found that hybrid vehicles had the most fires per 100,000 sales at 3474.5. There were 1529.9 fires per 100k for gas vehicles and just 25.1 fires per 100k sales for electric vehicles.

    Well, EVs haven’t been out all that long either.  Did they have any numbers on the AGES of the gas vehicles that had fires?

    • #28
  29. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Road wear is not dependent on vehicle weight. Not directly.

    Road wear depends on the weight / footprint. In other words, how much weight is concentrated.

    A fully loaded semi is 80k pounds, 35k pounds unloaded. Over 18 wheels. So 2-4k pounds per wheel.

    Trucks often use  295/75R22.5 tires. I could not quickly find the contact patch size.

    EV tires are smaller. KBB:

    If you look at range estimates for EVs like the Tesla Model S, you’ll see that the range and efficiency ratings can vary depending on the wheels. According to the EPA data, the Model S Plaid with 19-inch wheels has a 396-mile range, but the same car with 21-inch wheels only has a 348-mile range. … Narrower tires result in better range because less rubber on the road means less energy is required to move the car. 

    If anyone here can find the contact patch size, we could actually determine the extent to which an EV rivals an 18-wheeler in terms of impact on roads…

    • #29
  30. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    iWe (View Comment):

    Road wear is not dependent on vehicle weight. Not directly.

    Road wear depends on the weight / footprint. In other words, how much weight is concentrated.

    A fully loaded semi is 80k pounds, 35k pounds unloaded. Over 18 wheels. So 2-4k pounds per wheel.

    Trucks often use 295/75R22.5 tires. I could not quickly find the contact patch size.

    EV tires are smaller. KBB:

    If you look at range estimates for EVs like the Tesla Model S, you’ll see that the range and efficiency ratings can vary depending on the wheels. According to the EPA data, the Model S Plaid with 19-inch wheels has a 396-mile range, but the same car with 21-inch wheels only has a 348-mile range. … Narrower tires result in better range because less rubber on the road means less energy is required to move the car.

    If anyone here can find the contact patch size, we could actually determine the extent to which an EV rivals an 18-wheeler in terms of impact on roads…

    But the contact patch is more than just the width of the tire.  There’s also the pressure in the tire, etc.  I expect the width of the tire is going to have more to do with aerodynamics.  X pounds of car is going to have a certain amount of contact area at a certain tire pressure.  A wider tire will have a narrower/thinner band of contact.  But it’s like displacement of a ship, the contact area at a certain tire pressure has to equal the total weight.  How could it be otherwise?  Unless you want to claim that if you stand on a scale with just one foot, you’ll weigh less than if you have both feet down.

    • #30
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