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Growing weight and size of electric cars have US transportation regulator worried


Bigger, heavier, bulkier. The latest models of electric cars display ever more impressive characteristics. An increase in size that seems to worry the upper echelons of the National Transportation Safety Board, the National Council for American Transport Safety.

Increased risk of serious injury and death

It was Jennifer Homendy, President of the Council, who publicly expressed these concerns on Wednesday January 11, during a speech in Washington relayed by Bloomberg. “I am concerned about the increased risk of serious injury and death to all road users due to the increased curb weight and increased size, power and performance of vehicles on our roads, including electric vehicles“, she worries.

The electric version of thermal vehicles is often much heavier and more imposing, said the manager, referring to the battery versions of the Ford F-150 and the Volvo XC40. Describing the Hummer in electrified version, Jennifer Homendy recalled the impressive mass of the vehicle: more than four tons (9000 pounds). “The battery pack alone weighs over 2900 pounds [1,3 t] about the weight of a Honda Civic. This has a significant impact on the safety of all road users. Safety, especially when it comes to new transport policies and new technologies, cannot be overlooked“, she insisted.

Which solution(s)?

An increase in the overall mass of vehicles which could begin to pose a problem in terms of regulations. As soon as a car exceeds 3.5 tonnes of PTAC (total authorized weight in operation) in France, the C license (heavy weight) is compulsory. Thus, in the event that the electric Hummer (original version) were to be marketed in France, drivers with only the B license could not drive it.

As reminded Engadget, manufacturers of electric vehicles have already been addressing the problem for some time. To design lighter electric batteries, engineers are beginning to develop accumulators with denser semiconductors. Technological improvement would allow more energy to be stored in a lighter battery. Still under study, this innovation should only be integrated in a few years on the next ranges of EV.

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