As the automotive industry undergoes a seismic shift towards sustainability with the rise of electric vehicles (EVs), a new challenge emerges from an unexpected adversary: rust. Contrary to common perceptions that EVs are immune to the corrosion that plague traditional vehicles, the weight of batteries and the use of diverse metals expose these cutting-edge machines to the insidious grasp of rust.
Weight of Batteries and Corrosion Challenges
The heart of an electric vehicle lies in its battery, a colossal and intricate power source. What many don’t consider though is that the weight of these batteries. As EV manufacturers strive to extend the driving range of their vehicles, batteries are becoming larger and heavier. This added weight puts immense pressure on the vehicle’s structure, making it more susceptible to rust.
Metal Diversity in EVs: A Double-Edged Sword
Electric vehicles often incorporate a mix of metals to optimise their performance and durability. While this diversity is advantageous for specific applications, it also introduces a complexity that can exacerbate the risk of rust. Traditional vehicles primarily use steel for structural components, but EVs often feature aluminium and, in some cases, even composite materials.
Aluminium, while lightweight and corrosion-resistant on the surface, can suffer from ‘galvanic corrosion’ when in contact with other metals, particularly steel. This corrosion occurs due to the electrochemical reactions between different metals, potentially leading to structural weaknesses in the vehicle.
How widespread is the problem?
Data from various sources indicates that electric vehicles are not immune to rust-related challenges. An American study conducted by AAA revealed that, in certain conditions, corrosion could impact the conductive connections in EVs, potentially affecting the battery’s performance.
Also in the US, a report by the American Chemical Society on the increase in weight of EVs suggested that the added weight could result in a higher concentration of stresses and strains on certain vehicle components, ultimately contributing to a higher risk of corrosion.
Additionally, incidents of rust on EVs have been reported in regions with harsh winter conditions, where road salt and de-icing chemicals are commonly used.
As the electric vehicle market continues to grow, manufacturers are actively working on mitigation strategies to address rust-related concerns. This includes incorporating advanced corrosion-resistant coatings, developing innovative materials, and implementing comprehensive testing procedures to ensure the longevity and durability of EVs in a variety of climate conditions.
It should be said that EV owners should also remember to take proactive measures to protect their vehicles from rust. Regular inspections, particularly in harsh climates, are crucial. Applying rust prevention coatings, especially on vulnerable areas like the undercarriage, provide great protection against corrosion.
As an environmentally aware company. we’re pleased that the electrification of the automotive industry is bringing a cleaner, more sustainable future. But issues like larger car batteries also highlight the importance of understanding and addressing emerging technologies and their challenges. Rust, which was once only thought of as a concern for traditional vehicles, is proving to be a consideration for electric vehicles too. As manufacturers and consumers alike grapple with this evolving landscape, the industry’s response will likely lead to innovative solutions, ensuring that the promise of a rust-free electric future becomes a reality. Until then, there’s always Lanocare.