Electric cars are still a wonder in the automobile industry. Most EVs do not emit carbon dioxide emissions (CO2), which helps reduce air pollution. However, an untapped issue regarding electric cars is their weight.
In this blog, we will talk about the weight of an electric car in detail.
The Weight of an Electric Car
Bjorn Nyland, a Norwegian YouTuber who posts videos about electric cars, measured the weight of dozens of electric cars. Following are the conclusions derived from his data.
- The average weight of electric cars he reviewed was around 1,940 kg.
- Only one-third of cars weighed more than 2,000 kg.
- Most cars weighed between 1,500 kg and 2,000 kg.
- Very few models weighed below 1,500 kg.
Electric cars are generally heavier than gasoline or petroleum-powered cars. Let’s take Ford as an example. Ford’s Mustang Mach-E is over 500 pounds heavier than an Edge.
However, there are no trucks, pick-ups, or large SUVs in the category of electric vehicles yet. Hence, the average curb weight of electric cars is still a bit lower than cars with internal combustion engines.
Why are electric cars heavier than traditional ones? This blog will help you understand all about the weight of an electric car, so stay tuned!
How to Measure the Weight of Electric Cars?
There are three ways to define the weight of an electric car: curb weight, gross weight, and towing capacity. Read further to understand these terms better.
1. Curb Weight
Curb weight refers to the weight of an automobile without a driver, passengers, cargo, and sometimes fuel. It just includes the weight of a car with its standard equipment, like fuel tanks, motors, and electronics. In short, it is the weight of a car when it is empty.
(Note: In the case of electric cars, fuel is not relevant as they are powered through batteries. Although batteries get lighter as discharged, the difference is very trivial).
2. Gross Vehicle Weight
Gross vehicle weight (GVW) refers to a car’s maximum weight that accounts for everything, i.e., curb weight plus the weight of passengers and cargo. (Note: Gross vehicle weight does not include the weight of additionally attached trailers).
Let me quickly clear a misconception here. People often think that gross vehicle weight and gross vehicle weight rating are the same.
However, both of these terms are completely different from each other.
- Gross vehicle weight rating is the maximum weight that a car can handle.
- Gross vehicle weight is a car’s total weight at a particular point in time.
You should never let the weight of your car surpass the gross vehicle weight rating. It can not only affect the performance of your car but can also cancel your warranty.
3. Towing Capacity
The name says it all! Towing capacity refers to the amount of mass your vehicle can tow at a time. This is more relevant for heavy vehicles like caravans and trailers. Consider this measure only if you intend to utilize your electric car for towing-related tasks.
Here is a table that shows the curb weight of popular electric car models.
|Electric Car Models
|Max Curb Weight (KGs)
|Hyundai Kona Electric
|Ford Mustang Mach-E
Why are Electric Cars Heavier than Gasoline-Powered Cars?
Electric cars are operated by heavy batteries. They are the main reason why electric cars are heavier than regular ones.
Other reasons that make an electric car heavier include a heavier body and framework, stronger suspension, metal protection for the battery, and charging hardware.
Let’s look at each of these factors in detail.
1. Battery Packs
Battery packs are a heavy deal. Why? Because they are designed to hold enough power to move an electric car.
They consist of numerous identical batteries or individual battery cells configured in a series, parallel, or a mixture of both to provide the desired voltage, capacity, or power density.
Batteries determine the driving range, speed, and overall power of the electric car. That means you need more batteries for better performance. It leads us to a simple conclusion: the more batteries there are in a battery pack, the heavier it becomes.
Here are some examples to demonstrate how much the batteries weigh:
- The total weight of a Tesla Model S is 2,241 kg, while its battery weighs around 544 kg (almost half a ton). That means the battery makes up 24% of the car’s total mass.
- A Tesla Model 3 Long Range weighs 4,250 pounds. Out of the total weight, the battery alone measures 1,000 pounds. It means that the battery makes up almost a quarter of the car’s total weight.
2. Metal Encasing for the Battery
Batteries hold a large amount of power, and they can explode if you puncture or damage them in any way. Therefore, you need a strong encasing to keep them covered and protected at all times.
3. Added Electronics
Electric cars are highly computerized compared to cars with internal combustion engines. They are bound to have large amounts of cabling and extra electronic components.
Some major components of an electric car include extra onboard computers, sensors, and cameras. Although these parts do not weigh much individually, their weight tends to add up when combined.
Traditional cars also involve cabling, but not to a large extent. Why? Because they don’t have any batteries and are not as technologically advanced as electric cars.
4. Accessories for Extra Comfort
Electric cars are still considered a luxury in the automotive world. They are not in demand just because of their performance; people love them because they provide more comfort than traditional cars.
To raise the level of comfort, electric cars are incorporated with things like plush seats, heating and ventilation systems, and infotainment screens. These things also contribute to the overall weight of the car.
However, the driving experience that they provide is totally worth the extra pounds.
5. Heavier Body Structure
The components of an electric car are much heavier than a gasoline-powered car; for example, battery suspension, electric controls, etc. Therefore, the car’s body and framework must be equally strong to hold all heavy components.
A strong body and framework are mostly possible through thick metal, which means even more weight.
6. Stronger Suspension
Suspension refers to the system of springs and shock absorbers that support wheels’ movement in a car.
When the body of an electric car is heavy, the suspension also has to be equally powerful to handle the extra weight. Therefore, the suspensions of most electric cars are beefier than the suspension of traditional cars, adding more to the car’s overall weight.
What happens if you install the suspension of a traditional car into an electric car? You feel the impact of every bump, pothole, and other obstacle on the roads.
7. Added Charging Hardware
Electric cars free you from the burden of fuel tanks by replacing them with batteries. However, you need a whole set-up to charge them. The additional charging equipment also adds to the weight of an electric car.
Why is the Weight of An Electric Car a Serious Concern?
Weight directly affects a vehicle’s performance in terms of handling, top speed, acceleration, and range. Moreover, heavier vehicles cause environmental degradation in the long run. Also, heavy vehicles have adverse effects on road safety.
Let’s look at how the weight of electric cars is a rising concern.
- The heavier your car, the more force it requires to move. As electric cars are heavier than petrol ones, they draw more energy from their batteries.
- The added weight slows down your electric car significantly and reduces the total range you can achieve.
- Heavy vehicles are more dangerous in the case of road accidents. A possible solution to this problem could be experimenting with the design of electric cars to include additional collapsible space. The additional space would make the electric cars even bigger than they are.
- Heavy vehicles also cause more damage to roads. We know that most roads, highways, and bridges are designed to handle the weights of huge commercial trucks. However, the added weight of passenger electric cars would take its toll over time. Consequently, road surfaces won’t last long.
- People love electric cars for reducing their carbon footprint. However, they ultimately lead to a higher environmental footprint. How? Because the production of heavy vehicles requires more materials and energy. Plus, the tires and batteries of electric cars wear out quickly, needing frequent replacements.
When Is the Heavy Weight of Electric Cars Better For You?
We have already discussed why heavy-weight vehicles are a rising concern for the automobile industry. However, a heavy-weight vehicle is not always bad.
The heavy weight of electric cars proves to be beneficial in the following circumstances:
- Heavy weight keeps the center of gravity low. It reduces rolls in the corners that help you handle the car better.
- Heavy electric cars can also hold more load than a regular car. However, this might not always be the case depending upon a particular model of an electric car.
- Heavy electric cars also have a high towing capacity.
Why Haven’t We Addressed the Weight Issue Yet?
Electric cars are an impressive technology. People have already experienced their positive impact on the environment. However, the difference in the weight of an electric car and a gasoline-powered car is too significant to be ignored.
If weight is a rising concern for the automobile industry, why are manufacturers not taking any measures to address the issue? The reasons are somewhat justified.
Firstly, electric cars are still fairly new. It takes years and years to perfect a technological invention, and the same is the case with electric cars. There are numerous other concerns related to electric cars that need more attention.
For now, electric car manufacturers are more focused on extending range, improving charge, and maximizing the performance of the motors. They will come on to the weight dilemma once they find the solutions to other critical problems.
Secondly, improvements are yet to be made in the technology of car batteries, the heaviest component of an electric car.
The weight of electric cars is hard to reduce unless we discover new ways to reduce battery size without affecting the performance.
How Will The Weight Of Electric Cars Reduce?
It’s high time manufacturers think about different ways to reduce the weight of electric cars. But how is that even possible?
Currently, the batteries used in most electric cars are made up of lithium-ion. Lithium-ion is not highly energy-dense, so you require a lot of batteries for more power.
However, the energy density of lithium-ion is expected to increase by 7% a year. Electric cars will weigh less once the lithium-ion can hold more energy.
Moreover, electric cars will also weigh less if we use more lightweight materials like magnesium to produce car batteries. The benefits and uses of such materials are still under research.
Moreover, the body of electric cars is mostly made with steel. If we use lightweight composite materials to construct the body of an electric car, the overall weight will reduce significantly. Plus, lightweight materials like magnesium are more economical too.
Related electric car articles:
- How Long Does an Electric Car Battery Hold its Charge?
- What kind of batteries used in electric cars
- How Long Will a Tesla Battery Last?
- Hidden Costs of Owning an Electric Car
- How to Install Electric Vehicle Charging Station At Home
- Why You Need Electric Car Roadside Assistance for Your EV
Electric cars are heavier than gasoline-powered cars, mainly because of heavy battery packs and their metal encasing. Other reasons for the added weight are charging hardware, electronic controls, accessories for extra comfort, a heavier body and framework, and a stronger suspension.
Heavyweight directly affects the performance of electric cars and causes environmental degradation in the long run and more damage in case of road accidents. Therefore, we need to discover ways to decrease the weight of electric cars.
The weight of electric cars is expected to reduce with the introduction of new lightweight materials for construction and technological improvements in the existing materials.
My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.