Risk intelligence specialist Thatcham Research is leading a UK government funded project focused on Electric Vehicle (EV) collision repair and salvage processes and their impact on insurance claims and their associated costs.
With EVs set to play a central role in achieving net zero targets a need has been identified to study the risks and implications of EV repair. Adrian Watson, head of engineering, Thatcham Research said, “In many circumstances, EV accident repair is no different from ICE vehicles. But under the hood lie everyday essentials, such as safe, cost-effective, timely post-accident repair, and the surrounding claims process so critical to putting any new vehicle on the road. And nowhere is the difference between EV and ICE more clearly underlined than in the insurance claim chain.”
One of the most significant potential blockers to wholesale EV adoption is the battery. Conscious that batteries are expensive, vulnerable items, OEMs rigorously protect them within crash structures, and batteries will rarely be affected by low-speed impacts. However, challenges arise when the battery is involved, either directly or indirectly as a result of a collision, or indirectly when the High Voltage system becomes associated with the repair.
Adrian continues, “It’s vital that the industry comes together to ensure customer expectations of owning, insuring, and repairing an EV can be met and that the experience can be better than they’re used to with an ICE.”
Thatcham Research will be working in close partnership with LV= General Insurance, one of the largest insurers of electric cars in the UK, and part of the Allianz Group. The research will draw upon real-world claims data to inform project modelling.
Chris Payne, head of networks and engineering at LV=, said, “As a motor insurer, we’re focusing on two trends at the moment: developing green methods of repair and supporting the wider adoption of electric cars. That’s why this project is so exciting and crucial. It is about finding together as an industry what is the best way to repair EVs and their batteries, rather than writing them off. This will not only have a positive impact on claims costs, but will also feed a healthy second-hand EV market.”
Vehicle salvage, dismantling and recycling specialist SYNETIQ, will also play a key role in the project. As a business focused on recycling and re-using as much of a crash-damaged vehicle as is possible, it will bring essential insight into the readiness of the market for financially and environmentally sustainable EVs post-accident, with a particular focus on their batteries.
In the first phase of what is likely to be a significant cross-industry effort, the project will focus on identifying where the claims workflow is different for EVs, revealing potential pain points. Thatcham Research will also quantify the resulting challenges by projecting how the uptake of EVs will affect the transition to a fully electric car parc, to inform where more detailed work may be required in the future.