Aging parking garages ‘could collapse’ under the weight of heavier electric vehicles, experts warn
Multi-storey car parks in the UK could collapse due to the weight of electric vehicles, experts warn.
Electric cars, which weigh about twice as much as standard models, can wreak havoc on parking garages, especially older, unloved structures that are most at risk of buckling.
A new guideline is now being developed that recommends higher carrying weights for heavier vehicles.
Chris Whapples, structural engineer and parking consultant, is at the forefront of these new measures that will be published in the coming weeks.
“I don’t want to be too alarming, but there is certainly a chance that some of the early parking garages will collapse in bad shape,” he said. The Telegraph.
The weight of electric vehicles could lead to the collapse of multi-storey car parks in the UK
New electric vehicles are now much heavier than the average petrol car
“Operators should be aware of the weight of electric vehicles, have their car parks assessed from a strength point of view and decide whether to limit weight.”
Most of the country’s 6,000 multi-storey and underground facilities were built to guidelines based on the weight of popular 1976 cars, including the Mk 3 Ford Cortina.
But the electric cars currently on the UK market are much bigger. For example, the best-selling Tesla Model 3 weighs 2.2 tons fully loaded, making it more than 50 percent heavier than a 1.4-ton Cortina.
Electric vehicles are heavier primarily because of the batteries used to power them, and the reinforced frame and suspension required to transport them.
Hugo Griffiths, an investigative journalist, warned last year: ‘Cars have been getting heavier for some time now. In the 1970s, a family car like the Ford Cortina weighed less than 1,000 kg, while the original Range Rover was a ton lighter than its contemporary counterpart.
“Consumer demand and technological advancements have led to an increase in the number of comfort features in cars, with features like power windows and climate control piling on the pounds.
‘Safety improvements have also led to increasing weights. Side-impact bars, airbags, laminated glass and traction control systems help prevent or reduce the severity of collisions, but features that make cars safer also tend to increase their mass.
‘Added to this is the urge for electrification: a petrol engine can weigh about 150 kg, while an EV battery pack can easily weigh 500 kg.’
The government aims to completely ban the sale of non-electric vehicles by 2030
Electric cars have exploded in popularity in recent years. One in ten new cars sold in 2021 was electric, while another seven percent were hybrid.
The government also recently published its zero-emissions vehicle mandate, which sets limits on the number of non-EV cars that can be sold in the coming years.
By 2035, four out of five miles driven are expected to come from electric vehicles.