Used EVs Are Disappearing Faster Than Gas Cars

  • June 3, 2023
  • 3 min read

Electric vehicles (EVs) have made a significant impact on the automotive landscape, with several models having been in the market for five to ten years. However, despite their growing popularity, there’s an interesting phenomenon occurring – used EVs seem to fall out of the marketplace faster than their gasoline counterparts. In this blog post, we’ll explore the reasons behind this trend, shedding light on factors that contribute to the relatively short lifespan of electric vehicles.

Fragility of EVs: A Crash Course

A compelling article from Auto Evolution delves into the peculiar challenges faced by electric vehicles, particularly in the aftermath of accidents. Unlike traditional gasoline vehicles, EVs exhibit a level of fragility that stems from their unique design and structural considerations.

1. Battery Vulnerability

The core of the issue lies in the vulnerability of EV batteries. While internal combustion engines (ICE) in gasoline vehicles are built to withstand the explosive nature of combustion, EV batteries lack this robustness. In a crash, especially one that involves bending the underlying unibody, the battery – often an integral part of the vehicle’s structure – can be damaged.

The fragility of EV batteries makes them more susceptible to vibration damage, and in many cases, a crash that might only require repairs for a gasoline vehicle can render an EV totaled. The battery, being a critical and valuable component of the EV, is often the deciding factor in declaring the vehicle a total loss.

2. Structural Integration of Batteries

Unlike gasoline vehicles where damaged body parts can be easily replaced, EVs often have battery packs integrated into their structural design. Repairing or replacing these cast parts is not as straightforward as fixing traditional vehicles. The battery pack’s structural integration makes repair processes challenging, pushing repair costs to levels that may not make financial sense.

Battery Replacement Costs: A Financial Hurdle

The second key reason for the vanishing act of EVs is the cost associated with replacing battery packs in older vehicles. While gasoline vehicles may require a straightforward battery swap, EVs demand a more intricate and labor-intensive process. The battery, intricately integrated into the undercarriage, requires significant disassembly to replace.

1. Labor-Intensive Replacement

Even if a replacement battery can be acquired for around $15,000, the labor involved in disassembling and reassembling the vehicle adds substantially to the overall cost. Repairing or replacing EV batteries is a complex task, often involving a comprehensive overhaul of the vehicle.

The Ticking Time Bomb: A Perspective Shift

The article suggests that a large number of EVs produced may become a “ticking time bomb” in a few years. While this perspective might be viewed as extreme, it raises a crucial point: the potential challenges associated with the longevity and repairability of EVs, particularly as they age.

Buyer Beware: Check the Battery

For consumers considering purchasing a used EV, the lesson is clear – pay close attention to the battery. Reduced range due to overuse or fast charging can significantly impact the vehicle’s usability and may not align with the buyer’s expectations.

The unique characteristics of electric vehicles, particularly their battery vulnerability and integration into the vehicle structure, contribute to their relatively shorter lifespan in the used car market. As the automotive industry continues to evolve, addressing these challenges will be essential to ensuring the longevity and sustainability of electric vehicles.

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