When comparing electric cars and combustions cars, key differences affect the driver’s experience, like overall mileage and cost. One of these critical factors is the difference in weight between the two competing vehicles. So, are electric cars heavier than combustion cars, and is being a heavier vehicle beneficial or unfavorable?
Electric cars are heavier in every general aspect of a car’s average weight. Since more batteries are needed to create the same amount of power as a combustion engine, electric cars can be more than a thousand pounds heavier than an average vehicle of the same type and build.
Not only are electric cars heavier, but they weigh a considerable amount more than their competitors of the same class. So, is it only the battery that affects the overall weight of an electric car, or are there other technological advancements that add to the weight of a vehicle that is not present in a combustion engine vehicle?
Table of Contents
- Why Are Electric Cars Heavier?
- Are Heavier Cars Unsafe?
- Are Electric Cars Becoming Lighter?
Why Are Electric Cars Heavier?
Electric cars are heavier primarily because of the batteries needed to create enough power for ideal performance. However, other factors also add to the overall weight of an electric car that is worth mentioning.
Firstly, the battery packs of electric cars can weigh more than a thousand pounds depending on the model. For example, a lithium-ion battery that comprises 6,831 cells weighs around 900 pounds, provides an average mileage of 300 miles on a full charge, and can go from 0-60mph in under 4 seconds.
More specific models like Tesla’s Model X battery pack weigh up to 1377 lbs for enhanced performance due to its overall heavier build. This 7,920 lithium-ion cell battery is tesla’s heaviest battery and the most powerful.
Secondly, due to the battery pack weighing more than 1000 pounds, the framework of the car is adjusted to carry the weight. More metal is needed to create a basket-type frame for the battery to lay in safely. Not only is the framework thicker and heavier to carry the battery, but a heavy-duty shell is built around the battery to create an amour for protection.
Thirdly, electric vehicles need to convert the power it receives from the wall connector to the battery in order for the car to function. The AC power converts to DC power through the onboard charger device, which also adds to the overall weight of an electric vehicle.
Finally, one can argue that electric cars have far more specialized compartments and systems to let the vehicle perform effectively. Additional advanced technology to provide comfort and luxury to the customer also adds weight to the car that the average vehicle will not have.
Therefore, most of the added weight is due to the battery pack and everything needed to sustain and protect the pack when the car is in use.
Are Heavier Cars Unsafe?
Electric cars being heavier than combustion vehicles may sound like a concern for an average customer for daily use. Still, a heavier vehicle might not be as dangerous as it sounds.
The truth is that heavier cars are safer due to the function of simple physics. When two objects travel at the same speed and collide, the heavier object will exert a more potent force in the direction it was traveling. Heavier cars will cause more damage on the road, but the passengers inside might be safer from a collision.
In addition, electric vehicles do not have an engine at the front but a space for storage instead—the empty space at the front of the car functions as a cushion upon impact.
Therefore, a heavier vehicle is safer for the passengers in the car due to the overall mass being harder to move. However, the primary concern for the Environmental Protection Agency is that the difference in weight between cars is what causes the most damage. If everyone were able to purchase a heavier electric car, road users would be safer in general.
But, vehicle collisions are not the only concern when it comes to general safety because heavier electric vehicles can also impact the road it is using. With electric cars growing in popularity, the environment becomes less polluted, but the loads on roads become heavier.
Although most roads are capable of withstanding the impact of heavy vehicles like trucks, heavier electric vehicles can shorten the “life-span” of the road’s surface, according to the president-elect of the American Civil Society of Civil Engineers, Maria Lehman.
The effect of heavier electric vehicles on the road will only be seen once the majority of consumers use them, and even then, it will happen gradually over time.
Are Electric Cars Becoming Lighter?
Although heavier electric vehicles are not as bad or unsafe as one might think, new advanced techniques are being implemented to create lighter electric vehicles. The goal of making an electric car lighter is to enhance the handling and performance, which will, in turn, provide a better range for the average user.
Therefore, a university in Germany called Kiel developed a new substance, “Aero-graphite .” Comprised of graphene and carbon nanotubes that are woven together through new technology, it is one of the lightest materials that exist.
The reason the material is lighter than its competition is due to the ratio of size and strength. Not much material is needed to exert an ideal amount of power. The goal is to use it with the electrodes in batteries to make the whole unit considerably lighter.
The material has a high conductivity ability which means the batteries can be made smaller and still keep their original performance.
The new material can make a considerable difference in the weight of electric cars, which will enhance the overall experience and performance but whether it will be lighter than a combustion car is still to be discovered.
Electric cars are heavier mainly due to batteries having a challenging weight on their own and a considerable amount of them being needed to achieve ideal performance. Heavier electric cars are much safer for the passengers, although a lot of research is being done to make electric cars lighter in order to increase mileage and enhance performance.
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