Auto expert says Tesla's Model Y battery pack has 'zero repairability,' so a minor collision can junk the car
EV batteries can be hard to repair after accidents, so many often get scrapped.
One expert said Tesla is especially at risk.
Its Model Y battery pack goes "straight to the grinder" after an accident, he said.
Tesla's revolutionary Model Y battery pack has a major flaw that means it has "zero repairability" after a collision, according to auto expert Sandy Munro.
EV batteries can bring all sorts of challenges when they get damaged after accidents. It's difficult to repair and even assess them. Insurance companies are forced to write off even low-mileage EVs, raising insurance premiums in the process. Oftentimes, these batteries pile up in scrap yards — the opposite environmental result that should come from going electric. And they might not even be unsalvageable.
But according to a Reuters report, Tesla customers are especially at risk.
"A Tesla structural battery pack is going straight to the grinder," Munro, a manufacturing expert known for his vehicle teardowns, told Reuters.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Tesla also did not respond to Reuters' request for comment.
It's hard to say exactly the extent to which this is happening with Teslas, and EVs overall, given they only account for a relatively small percentage of the global vehicle market. But this possibility could be a major turnoff to drivers considering electric.
That's part of why automakers like Ford and GM have said they're making their battery packs easier to fix. And it's especially important as EV battery replacements could cost as much as $10,000 to $15,000. A Model 3 replacement might cost up to $20,000, Reuters reported.
Tesla's approach has been a structural battery pack, which has largely been hailed as revolutionary. It means the pack, chock-full of large 4680 cells, is part of the vehicle's body. While that has helped Tesla cut production costs, there can be more risk to consumers and insurers, as it cannot be removed or replaced easily, per Reuters.
Reuters cited experts that said Tesla and other automakers need to prioritize more easily repairable battery packs — and allow others access to battery cell data for repairs.
That access to data, especially, has been debated as more EVs hit the roads. Reuters reported that insurers, leasing companies, and car repair shops have been battling auto companies for access to diagnostic data, without which firms have to write off potentially damaged EVs.
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