Structural considerations

In all circumstances, newer structures and the additional battery mass are leading to more novel designs and an increase in the use of different materials to lighten the remaining vehicle structure.

Each option poses important questions to the industry.

Light-weighting leads to more complicated repairs, an issue exacerbated by skills and knowledge gaps around the repair techniques associated with newer or composite materials.

High Voltage Components

In many EVs that are based on existing model or platform designs, components for the HV and 48V systems are in the zones most exposed to low to moderate speed impacts. Parts and labour issues make the repair significantly more costly, while more specialist knowledge, training and awareness amongst workshop staff is required. Most High Voltage (HV) components are expensive and costly to replace.

It costs insurers £350 per day to keep a claim open. Most insurers aim to resolve a claim to completion within 7-10 days or the cost of keeping the claim open might outweigh the benefits of vehicle repair – described as the ‘key to key’ time.

Key to key times can be minimised by performing all repairs at one location. EVs are more likely to require specialist tasks such as HV decommissioning and recommissioning, performed at a different location where specialist VM equipment or expertise is available. This impacts both cost and claim duration.

And any potential delay needs to be identified promptly to assist underwriting.

In tandem, high voltage component availability must be monitored at an early stage. With the numbers of EVs rising, component availability and cost control is crucial to avoid total loss.

High voltage component location and vulnerability must also be considered at the earliest opportunity, for example, will a low speed accident impact heavily on cost if high voltage components are involved?

Our Research Focus

Our research is now focused on delivering an efficient and sustainable EV repair ecosystem.

To achieve this, we must:

  • Identify how to manage HV batteries in the repair process
  • Develop recycling and ‘second life’ solutions
  • Establish the technical, logistical and economic landscape
  • Deliver skills and knowledge into the industry with blended learning EV training programmes, such as our own ‘EV Ready’ programme which will ensure safety for everyone that might encounter an EV

Addressing these challenges will support a repair framework for EVs that meets consumer expectations and supports the UK motor insurance model, whilst enabling a responsible and financially–viable route to the sustainable usage of vehicles, batteries and raw materials.