Why the cars are really increasingly heavier (and not only electricity), more and more heavy cars, including for electric vehicles – Auto guide

Increasingly heavy cars, including electric vehicles

The Mercedes Vision EQXX consumed, on average, 8.3 kWh/100 km, in particular thanks to a advanced aerodynamics (only 0.170), and also a contained weight of “only” 1.7 ton For a long electric sedan equipped with a battery which is only half the size of the 107.8 kWh battery of the EQS. A “classic” electric car would have consumed almost double energy on the same route.

Why the cars are really increasingly heavier (and not only electricity)

It is a fact, electric cars, because of their battery in particular, are heavier than their thermal counterparts. But more generally, it is the general weight of all the cars that has increased in recent years, and it will start to pose problems in terms of security, but also from a legal point of view.

With the advent of SUVs more than a decade ago, The average weight of cars has increased considerably. The democratization of the electric has only accentuated this phenomenon in recent years, and with each presentation of a new product, when we scroll the technical sheet, the tab that brings us to the weight of the car in question What to challenge us.

Latest example, the new Volvo Ex90 which displays 2.8 tonnes on the scale. These are 500 kilos more than a rechargeable hybrid Volvo XC90 and approximately 700 more than a diesel model when it was still marketed.

A battery problem ? Not only

Examples like this one, we can give you tons (without bad pun), and this is also verified on the cars of the lower segment. Take a Peugeot E-208 for example. This weighs 1,455 kilos, which may seem “reasonable” for an electric car. But going back ten years, we notice that a Peugeot 207, its “equivalence” of the time, weighed on average 350 kilos less depending on the versions and the engines. There are obviously the batteries that play a significant role in this mass gain, but there are also other determining elements.

If we want to go even further, we can take the example of a Mercedes Class C in the 1980s, a 190 as they were called at the time, and a current C class. We already notice a small tilting in the segments, since the old C class was 4.42 meters, the length of a compact today, while the new measurement 33 cm more. In terms of weight, the first weighed between 1,080 and 1,300 kg, depending on the versions. 40 years later, the Mercedes class C hybrid exceeds both tonnes.

Several problems are seriously starting to arise with the constant weight increase in our cars, especially since the advent of electricity and SUV. The problem does not only have repercussions on consumption (fuel, or electricity), The increase in the weight of cars relates to many other subjects, safety. And, it’s quite paradoxical, we will see it, but also more “practical” problems like, for example, the simple fact of parking or, and it is more surprising, for the driving license.

Safety problems

We often lend the increase in the general weight of cars to the multiplication of compulsory security systems, to their ever more advanced connectivity or to driving aids. It is a fact, and it is all the more true that the security systems are an integral part of the rating system of the Euro NCAP organization.

If one of these aids is missing, this is the bad note guaranteed. To make sure, the car in question passes for a model not necessarily secure and loses a significant sales argument. This is for example the case for low-cost cars, which draw prices down by saving on certain technologies and, therefore, are less well rated in terms of. We could see it with the Renault Zoé or the Dacia Spring, badly noted by the NCAP Euro.

In its report on the tests carried out in 2022, Euro NCAP found that the weight of cars had increased considerably in recent years, and we can see it via this comparative table of vehicles tested during two periods: 2010 to 2012 and 2020 in 2022. The third column concerns electric vehicles tested in 2022.

You surely still have some memories of your physics lessons in high school. The higher the weight of a car, The more important the necessary force to brake. It therefore goes without saying that heavier cars require more powerful braking systems. This is what we have seen on many new cars, whether electric, or not.

Euro NCAP specifies in its report that the more heavy a car, the more dangerous it is, despite all the security arsenal that it can embark. Difficult to prove them wrong, since we dare not imagine a shock, if only at 70 km/h between an electric SUV today and a city car barely ten years old.

The organization brings several solutions to work on, but you can’t help but wonder if it is not the snake that bites its tail. Develop technologies, now compulsory, to improve the safety of cars, thus increasing their weight, making them, consequently, on another aspect, less secure, and asking manufacturers to further improve safety due to weight gain … especially caused by safety systems.

In fact, Euro NCAP highlighted the need to have more effective shock absorption structures. But also further work on driving aid systems, in order to protect other vehicles, and vulnerable users such as cyclists and pedestrians.

Heavier, wider and longer cars, a daily hassle ?

As you can see in the table presented above, in a decade, the average weight of a car has increased well.

Compacts have taken on average Over 100 kg, The segment of segment E (Tesla Model 3, BMW i4…) Over 200 kg, while the compact SUVs have taken approximately 130 kg. Euro NCAP also isolated electric cars. An electric compact weighs 1,657 kilos on average, more than two tonnes for an electric segment model, and 1,978 kilos for an electric electric SUV.

Heavier, our cars are also larger, evidenced by our example from above with the Mercedes C -Class. This can also pose other problems, such as parking. The maneuvers are indeed more complicated, while the infrastructures aged several decades are no longer necessarily optimal for our modern cars. You just have to see the entry of certain underground car parks in Paris to realize it. We had also written a file that asked whether electric cars were more difficult to park.

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In addition, even if the use of an electric motor and a dedicated platform allows some advantages in terms of design (such as a shorter robbery as the Volkswagen Id. Buzz), there are also constraints. The fact that electric cars are wider is because of the batteries, but not because the battery packs are oversized for a car, It is mainly because of the security that this kind of elements occasion.

The manufacturers must leave a kind of “buffer” space on each side in the event of a side shock, where the battery is closest to the end of a car. In order to avoid damaging the batteries in the event of a side collision, electric cars generally use a structure with a wider side beam and a thicker threshold.

Will a B license are still sufficient in a few years ?

This is a question that may seem exaggerated, and it is actually at a time when we write these lines, But even according to Bentley, she deserves today to arise. With a B license, the limit imposed in terms of weight is 3.5 tonnes. It is wide enough to drive a van, indeed, and all the cars marketed in Europe today.

But as Bentley rightly underlined it during the presentation of his luxury SUV Bentayga with long wheelbase (which is not an electrical model as a bonus), The B license could no longer suffice in the future. With a raw mass of 3,250 kg for its bestiah, indeed, you are dangerously approached the limit. Afterwards, is this accumulation of technologies and other gadgets with which Bentayga is equipped with and will become essential for our cars of tomorrow ? Certainly not.

BMW i7

In the same spirit, the new Volvo Ex90 is at least 2.8 tonnes, while the new BMW i7, with all the options, flirt widely with the three tonnes. Again, we can legitimately start asking questions, even if it concerns a caste of very special cars.

Tomorrow, a 5 100 % electric Renault or a Peugeot E-208 will no doubt never weigh more than what they weigh today, a few pounds, especially since the manufacturers become aware, despite electrification forced, the need to contain the masses of the cars, and even that of electricity.

What can be the solutions ?

One of the sales arguments for an electric car, This is obviously its autonomy. But as many leaders point out today, including those from Mazda, Tesla or BMW, cars with large autonomies (and therefore large batteries) will soon be useless. For what ? Because the charging infrastructure will multiply, but not only.

At Ford for example, you plan to make your electric cars less complex and less expensive. Therefore, they will embark less things and will be less heavy in addition to being cheaper. This is in any case what the boss of the American manufacturer recently stated.

Engineers, in addition to working on new battery chemicals, also work on the aerodynamic aspect, essential today for low consumption and good autonomy, but also on weight.

Mercedes Vision EQXX

The best example, and undoubtedly the most concrete that we can give today, is the work carried out by Mercedes-Benz with its EQXX concept car. Mercedes brought 1,202 km to his EQXX vision through Europe, between Stuttgart and Silverstone, taking the Channel Tunnel. The 1,202 km was traveled in 2:30 p.m., at an average speed of 83 km/h.

The Mercedes Vision EQXX consumed, on average, 8.3 kWh/100 km, in particular thanks to a advanced aerodynamics (only 0.170), and also a contained weight of “only” 1.7 ton For a long electric sedan equipped with a battery which is only half the size of the 107.8 kWh battery of the EQS. A “classic” electric car would have consumed almost double energy on the same route.

In the same genre, we can also cite the Lightyear 0 which had traveled more than 700 km with a consumption of approximately 8.9 kWh / 100 km and an average speed of 85 km / h. Low consumption made possible thanks to a lot of aerodynamic work (CX of only 0.175) and above all a very contained weight of 1.6 tonnes (almost the same as Renault Zoé), with a 60 kWh battery and a template D ‘about five meters long.

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Increasingly heavy cars, including electric vehicles

Vehicles, whose electric cars, have gained more and more weight in recent years, a trend that is explained by the growing popularity of SUVs and technology on board ever, according to Bloomberg.

The passage of combustion engines to electric vehicles could also worsen this situation due to the weight of lithium-ion batteries which are used and which are deemed bulky.

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The cars began to gain weight when technology on board has grown, while the drop in the cost of petrol had enabled consumers to buy larger cars, such as the SUVs that are more and more present on the roads.

Vehicles sold in the European Union have thus gained 15% more weight since 2001, which has played on the reduction of windy pollution when putting these modern vehicles on the market, which promised fuel savings.

The transition to an electric version would also add almost 200 kilos additional per vehicle. The average mass of electric vehicles sold in Europe was approximately 16% higher than that of all vehicles sold, according to the International Council for Clean Transport.

Regarding rechargeable hybrid cars, the latter would exceed an average weight of 1900 kilos, especially because it is often luxury sedans or SUVs.

“One of the problems we will encounter in the future will be the weight of electrified products, because the weight means many resources in raw materials,” said Carlos Tavares, Director General of Stellantis NV, at the Morgan Automobile Summit Stanley last January.

Large manufacturers would thus give priority to high -performance SURs and sports cars, as they are deemed more profitable, thus representing 41% of electric cars in Europe, according to data from the European Commission.

Heavier vehicles would also have an impact on safety problems and additional resource consumption, according to Bloomberg.