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Article: Electric Vehicles and the Unique Risks Insurers Need to Consider

Discussion in 'News' started by Canuck, Dec 21, 2015.

  1. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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    #1 Canuck, Dec 21, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015
    I got this in the form of an email given the nature of my business.

    Origin & Cause

    I think it gives the wrong impression to insurance companies, especially with regard to the risk of fire and injuries.

    Please post your comments since I will be directing the author to this thread.
     
  2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    You should have just written "Please don't read this, it's total anti-electric FUD pretending not to be."
     
  3. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 Model S P85

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    Looks like a classic case of attack article that turns everything into a negative, even the typical positives.

    I'm particularly curious about the paragraph about battery disposal costing $30,000. That sounds incredibly fishy and made up.

    And how about this fun nugget: "The heavier gas-powered car will push the lighter electric car backward". How many times have we heard naysayers complain about how heavy EVs are, and now here's one that reverses it to naysay from a different angle.
     
  4. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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    Keep the comments coming please. I am going to direct the author to this thread. I find it unfortunate that he gives insurers the impression that electric vehicles are more prone to fire and he uses these examples:

    2. RISK OF FIRE ON IMPACT

    There have been at least four documented cases of fire following impacts associated with lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles in the past few years. Notably:

    1. BYD e6 - Shenzhen, China (May 2012)1
    2. Tesla Model S - Washington, USA (October 2013)2
    3. Tesla Model S - Merida, Mexico (October 2013)3
    4. Tesla Model S - Tennessee, USA (November 2013)4
    But he fails to mention the FACT that:

    Had a conventional gasoline car encountered the same object on the highway, the result could have been far worse. A typical gasoline car only has a thin metal sheet protecting the underbody, leaving it vulnerable to destruction of the fuel supply lines or fuel tank, which causes a pool of gasoline to form and often burn the entire car to the ground. In contrast, the combustion energy of our battery pack is only about 10% of the energy contained in a gasoline tank and is divided into 16 modules with firewalls in between. As a consequence, the effective combustion potential is only about 1% that of the fuel in a comparable gasoline sedan.
    The nationwide driving statistics make this very clear: there are 150,000 car fires per year according to the National Fire Protection Association, and Americans drive about 3 trillion miles per year according to the Department of Transportation. That equates to 1 vehicle fire for every 20 million miles driven, compared to 1 fire in over 100 million miles for Tesla. This means you are 5 times more likely to experience a fire in a conventional gasoline car than a Tesla!
    For consumers concerned about fire risk, there should be absolutely zero doubt that it is safer to power a car with a battery than a large tank of highly flammable liquid.
    Model S Fire | Tesla Motors Canada
     
  5. thecloud

    thecloud As rhythm raced inside, the ship came alive

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  6. Jaff

    Jaff Active Member

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    #6 Jaff, Dec 21, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015
    This is a particularly disappointing article as Origin & Cause have a very solid reputation in the insurance industry in Canada.

    To the best of my knowledge, most of their work comes from testing products that have failed, to determine if an insurer has a chance at successful subrogation against the product manufacturer or installer. I must admit that I am at a bit of a loss to understand why this article was written, as I believe no Canadian insurer was involved in the losses stated in the article.

    Regardless, at first glance, I take issue with the following...

    Item #2 ...Risk of fire on Impact...points out that Tesla "locked" the vehicle out of the "low suspension" position, but fails to mention the titanium shield that Tesla retrofitted to the vehicle. The author also fails to contrast these four events with the almost 200,000 ICE vehicle fires that occur in North America annually.

    Item #3...Risk of fire or injury while parked or charging...so an EV parked is not "de-energized"...can we not say the same about a static tank of gasoline? Is a tank of gas not subject to vandalism? I would be willing to bet that EV charging stations are far safer that gas stations with respect to risk of fire. The author speaks of the "saviour" being the robotic arm...does he need a robotic arm to plug in his kettle or electric razor in the morning? Really?

    Item #4...Risk of severe injuries during a collision...the author speaks of the "lightweight construction" of EVs...he completely ignores the superior engineering of a vehicle that was designed as an EV from the ground up, to that of an ICE vehicle...perhaps the author should have read about Tesla breaking the crash testing machines.

    Item #5...Risk to pedestrians...again, for those of us who have been driving hybrids and EVs for 7-8 years now, we know this claim is a bit of a "stretcher"...most modern 4 & 6 cylinder gas cars are just as quiet roaming through a parking lot.

    Item #6...Aggressive driving is a serious temptation...I had to laugh at this one...no more a temptation than a Vette / Ferrari / Hellcat...

    Item #7...Battery disposal is costly...really?...more costly than a hundred liters of spilled diesel fuel or gasoline running all over the road...spilling into the local river or stream? Please!
     
  7. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    I don't think there's any point. If he gave a crap about accuracy he wouldn't have posted the nonsense that he did.

    I strongly suggest deleting the link from your post to avoid giving him oxygen. After all, this all started with you being spammed. In fact, maybe we could just delete the thread.
    Please.
     
  8. bhzmark

    bhzmark Active Member

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    Article is crap. Ins co stats will bear out the advantages to insuring BEVs (esp those with autopilot and related driver assist and crash avoidance) and the smart ins cos will seek that business.
     
  9. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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    You are wrong. This is not spam at all. My clients are major insurance companies in Canada and they subscribe to this company in order to get emails to keep them advised of the latest trends in the insurance industry, particularly with regard to risk. They use this company as experts in insurance related litigation. As Jaff pointed out: "This is a particularly disappointing article as Origin & Cause have an very solid reputation in the insurance industry in Canada."

    Please keep the comments coming.
     
  10. Jaff

    Jaff Active Member

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    Origin & Cause is a professional, well respected firm whose work had my complete respect, confidence and support...until now!
     
  11. wdolson

    wdolson Active Member

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    There may have been a Tesla accident in Mexico, but I thought #3 on that list was the stolen Tesla in Los Angeles that had a minor fire after hitting parked cars going so fast, the car split in half and half the car embedded itself in the wall of a synagogue? I've only read about three Tesla fires total, so the Mexico thing is kind of bewildering to me.

    In any case, this does look like it's written either from a perspective of ignorance or a dislike for EVs.
     
  12. MartinAustin

    MartinAustin Active Member

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    Well hopefully they will see this thread and fix up their article.

    Agreed... dozens of factual errors
     
  13. Branzo90D

    Branzo90D Salt and Pepper

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    Why would anyone "dispose" of a lithium-ion battery pack of the size as that in an electric vehicle in the first place? The value of the materials in such a battery as "ore," as Elon calls it, for producing new batteries is very significant. It makes no sense that the author truly believes that this would be disposed of and not recycled. Does he believe the all-aluminum body of a Tesla would just be crushed and thrown away as well? I would assume that Tesla would gladly buy-back any battery pack that is being sent to salvage.

    Anyway, from a business standpoint, it makes no sense to assume the components of any modern automobile would somehow be disposed of. If I am not mistaken, requirements in Europe call for the design of all materials going into vehicles take into account how they will be recycled. So disposal cost is simply irrelevant. The worth of a used battery pack exceeds the cost to recycle it, as far as I know, and is certainly not "zero."
     
  14. Festerfeet

    Festerfeet Member

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    This article is both sensational and inacurate in numerous ways. This strikes me as an advert for this guys consultancy business.

    What is most concerning is that he works as an expert witness, I am not sure what would worry me more, if he was acting as an expert for my side of a case or against.

    As for using Wikipedia as a reference, one would expect a freshman to know better.
     
  15. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    What about the unique risks of ICE cars compared to EVs? Such as they're filled with gasoline?
     
  16. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

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    The really important question, then, is this: how do you rebut this piece for the readership of Origin & Cause?
     
  17. HankLloydRight

    HankLloydRight Fluxing

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    It's like the NADA wrote that for him and he just put his name on it. Must have been a nice payday for him.
     
  18. wdolson

    wdolson Active Member

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    As I understand it, this is a publication that insurance companies rely on to set their rates and is normally quite accurate and reliable, however they missed the mark this time and need to have the record set straight. Obviously resorting to name calling isn't going to get the job done.

    It will take a bit of research, but I know insurance companies are most concerned about what they will be paying out. And personal injury in car accidents is probably a bigger amount than paying for car damage, at least in the US it is, but the US has a very weird health care system compared to the rest of the world. How about lay out a counter case pointing out the statistics? The percentage of Teslas on the road is much smaller than the number of ICE cars, so everything needs to be laid out in proportion, but I think a case can be made.

    First off car fires. The Model S was introduced in 2012 and went into mass production in 2013. They have produced about 120,000 cars in the last 3 years. I believe there have been about 300 million cars and light trucks produced during that same period. If my numbers are correct (they may not be), Teslas are about 0.04% of cars on the road worldwide. In that time, there have been 3 Tesla fires. All three were events that would have caused severe damage to ICE cars if not started a fire with them too. The driver of one car died of his injuries (from the stolen Tesla), but he didn't die from the fire which was minor. How many ICE cars have caught fire worldwide in that 3 years span? According to a quick Google search, the average number of car fires a year in the US is 152,300 with 209 deaths and 764 injuries. Percentage-wise, that's way more than Tesla has had. Tesla has also had zero fires since introducing the shield.

    Safety tests. The Model S broke the roof crush test rig, and scored the highest ever in passenger safety in various tests. There have been some horrific accidents with Model Ss and only two people died. One was the stolen Tesla in Los Angeles where the driver initially survived the car being ripped in half at 100 mph, but later died and the other was in a canyon north of Los Angeles where someone drove off the road and the car fell something like 500 feet straight down before hitting anything. I read the CHP didn't even call a tow truck to haul away the wreck, they called a dump truck. In most other Tesla accidents, the occupants were uninjured, or suffered much more minor injuries than people in other cars suffered in similar accidents.

    Another point about car fires, yes lithium ion batteries are somewhat flammable, but Tesla has built the battery pack to minimize flammability and lithium ion batteries are not as flammable as gasoline.

    Model Ss keep getting safer. Since introduction the Model S has had the battery shield has been introduced, autopilot hardware is installed on all cars and most have it activated. The fully functioning autopilot was introduced a couple of months ago and despite a few idiots on YouTube making dangerous videos, it does enhance safety. Autopilot is good enough that none of these idiots caused an accident making their videos. I could be wrong, but I don't believe there has been any accident related to Autopilot thus far. At least none that were widely reported in the media.

    I'm sure there are more points to make, those are just what came to me while I sat here, but I think you wanted something in that vein?
     
  19. Andyw2100

    Andyw2100 Well-Known Member

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    I don't think anything any of us say is going to get the author to significantly alter his position on EVs and how he thinks his insurance clients should assess the risks of insuring them.

    However...

    He was fair-minded enough to point out the advantage Tesla has through OTA updates. So in the very least, while the following won't help the EV industry as a whole, it could help us. I would suggest that Canuck point out to the author that all the points he makes about light cars being at a disadvantage when colliding with heavier cars are essentially reversed in the case of insuring Teslas (Model S and Model X) since Teslas are actually quite heavy for their vehicle class size. You could add information about the five-star safety rating in all categories, and perhaps he'll amend his recommendation to basically say, in summary, "except Teslas."

    Seriously, I'm not suggesting that everything or even anything else the author wrote about EVs in general is correct. I'm just saying we're not going to get him to completely reverse his position, so why not shoot for a reasonable goal that actually helps us.
     

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