🔒 Electric cars are getting too big and bulky, safety regulator warns

By Keith Laing

National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Jennifer Homendy is raising concerns about the heft and girth of electric vehicles that carmakers are pumping out to meet growing demand and emissions regulations.

“I’m concerned about the increased risk of severe injury and death for all road users from heavier curb weights and increasing size, power, and performance of vehicles on our roads, including electric vehicles,” Homendy said in remarks delivered Wednesday in Washington, D.C.  

GMC Hummer electric vehicles on the production line at General Motors’ Factory ZERO all-electric vehicle assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan.

Electric vehicle batteries are heavy and expensive, and automakers can charge more for larger cars. Homendy called out General Motors Co.’s GMC Hummer EV as a particularly egregious example of the trend toward bigger, heavier vehicles, noting it tips the scales at more than 9,000 pounds.

“The battery pack alone weighs over 2,900 pounds — about the weight of a Honda Civic,” she said. “That has a significant impact on safety for all road users.”

The transport safety regulator also mentioned Ford Motor Co.’s F-150 Lightning pickup is as much as 3,000 pounds heavier than a non-electric version of the same truck and said Ford’s Mustang Mach-E and Volvo’s XC40 EV weigh about 33% more than gas-powered equivalents. 

A Ford F-150 Lightning electric vehicle on display during the 2022 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.

The comments come as the Biden administration tries to persuade more drivers to convert to electric vehicles, rolling out tax credits from the $550 billion Inflation Reduction Act signed into law last year. 

“The EV future is at our doorstep,” US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tweeted on Jan. 2. “@USDOT and @ENERGY are working to make sure America is ready.” 

Homendy commended government efforts to reduce carbon emissions, but cautioned that could have some unintended consequences, such as higher numbers of road fatalities. 

“Safety, especially when it comes to new transportation policies and new technologies, cannot be overlooked,” she said. 

© 2023 Bloomberg L.P.

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