Car insurance companies are threatening automakers with increasing premiums if they don’t open their EV battery data to third parties.
By far, the most expensive part of any electric vehicle is its battery; hence, when an EV gets into an accident, it is the firm thing that is checked for damage. However, with many brands keeping battery information locked away, insurers claim they are being forced to prematurely total vehicles simply because they cannot accurately assess the damage. To get automakers to open their data and make their batteries more repairable, insurers are now threatening to continue to increase premiums.
As initially reported by Reuters, the push from insurers follows a dramatic increase in the number of EVs on the road and hence, a dramatic increase in the number of EVs involved in accidents. But what happens after an accident has become highly dependent on a driver’s insurer and the brand of EV they drive.
Sadly, in the case of most Tesla drivers, the battery or entire car must be replaced following a crash. If any internal battery components are damaged, they can be dangerous if driven again. This is only compounded by Tesla’s infamous lack of repairability.
According to a series of Tesla stores contacted by Teslarati, the most common outcome if a battery is damaged is to replace the entire car, as often the damage to the battery, combined with the damage to the body and electronics, totals the vehicle. However, it should be noted that Tesla offers battery replacement as part of their service for those willing to pay.
In the case of Ford, Nissan, or GM vehicles, owners are in a slightly better situation. According to comments given to Reuters, these automakers have designed some, if not most, parts of the battery pack to be replaceable in the case of an accident. Ford states that outside casing materials have been designed for replacement, while GM explained that specific battery cells could be identified by GM dealers for replacement, preventing the need for an entirely new battery pack. Nissan states that battery modules can be replaced in the case of an accident.
Stellantis brands, much like Tesla, will not do battery pack repair and states that any electric vehicle in an accident where the airbags are deployed must have its battery replaced.
None of the automakers have commented on opening their battery data to insurers or third parties, though they may be forced to if customers continue to see their premiums climb.
This reaction from insurers is one of the fundamental reasons Tesla established its own insurance provider. However, as the program remains locked to specific states, only a limited number of Tesla owners can qualify for the service. But if Tesla continues to expand its service to cover more States, other insurers may have no choice but to lower their premiums for Tesla owners to remain competitive.
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